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One tough issue

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 am, July 15th, 2015 - 301 comments
Categories: China, labour, national, Politics, racism, Steven Joyce - Tags:

I have never seen an issue like this.  It has neatly divided progressives between those who hold sincere and compelling views that the racial profiling of part of our community is utterly wrong and others holding equally sincere and compelling views that the continuous flow of cheap credit into our country will completely destroy the remnants of our dreams for a better society for all of us.

The divisions are interesting, even amongst the Standard authors.  Tat Loo and Stephanie Rodgers are totally ad idem on the issue and are totally opposed to the racial profiling and race based analysis that has occurred.  I think it is fair to say they do not always agree on issues 😀

Red Logix, Te Reo Putake and I have advanced an alternative view although to be honest every time I have done this I have felt the need to take a shower.  The essence of the issue is appropriate, the take over of our country by foreign interests is wrong, but the target, ethnic Chinese including very long term residents is misplaced.

And amongst the broad left the response has been fascinating.  Many are contemptible at what has happened.  But when someone like John Minto whose credibility in fighting racism in Aotearoa is second to none has a complex view of the issue, or a staunch Green such as Danyl Mclaughlin says that the logic of what Labour is trying to say is fairly convincing you know that things are not that simple.  Mclaughlin is not the only Green who believes this.  Some very dedicated Greens whose beliefs and ethics I completely respect have said the same thing to me.

The right have had a field day.  Such staunch believers in racial tolerance and respect as Cameron Slater have attacked Labour mercilessly.  Steven Joyce, National’s campaign guru who came up with celebrations of ethnic diversity as National’s Iwi Kiwi billboards has claimed the moral high ground.  Remember this example of racial tolerance he was responsible for?

billboard-beaches iwi kiwi

But this has now become counter productive.  So with the greatest of respect to my beloved Labour Party can we rethink our approach to this issue?

301 comments on “One tough issue ”

  1. shorts 1

    I think most kiwis regardless of race are concerned about foreign investment in our housing market and the huge gains those speculating can make with little to no benefit to our economy

    I think most kiwis would like the laws changed to make investing in our housing stock less attractive for the speculator and at worst more beneficial to the state via capital gains and other mechanisms introduced, at the very least we should collect data on who is buying all these houses

    The whole China/ Chinese thing was a terrible strategy that is rightfully backfiring on Labour

  2. vto 2

    I think people just need to grow up actually.

    The problem is clear.

    Other nations have managed to discuss this in a mature way, and put measures in place to deal with it. It seems some parts of our population cannot show such similar maturity.

  3. Clean_power 3

    Labour’s handling is not only “not optimal” but a serious mistake. It will cost Asian New Zealanders votes and will alienate a sector of the population (read Letters to the Editor on several provincial newspaters to confirm it).

    Mr Twyford blundered and it is time to stop digging.

    • Enough is Enough 3.1

      I am beginning to think Twyford should be replaced.

      He has made a cluster fuck of this legitimate issue and alienated a growing demographic at the very time we need them to support us.

      Housing is the number 1 issue of this electoral cycle. Yet he is failing to get any traction from it.

      Cheap foreign cash is the problem. There was a way of framing that problem without resorting to crude statistic and dog whistle politics.

  4. Karen 4

    To find out if something is racist or not you need to ask the community affected. Every Chinese and Korean person I know is upset by this story because they know that what will happen is that they will get more racist jeers when they go out. These are people who have lived in New Zealand for generations in many cases and at least 20 years in others.

    That the Labour Party should do something like this is extremely upsetting for me, as is seeing Labour Party supporters on the Standard thinking this is a good way to go. Is there a problem with overseas investment? Yes. Is a lot of this from China? Probably, but this is not the only reason house problems in Auckland have skyrocketed, and there were much better ways that Labour could have dealt with this issue. Colonial Viper has offer several.

    There are also a couple of articles in the Herald this morning worth reading.



  5. weka 5

    “I have never seen an issue like this. It has neatly divided progressives between those who hold sincere and compelling views that the racial profiling of part of our community is utterly wrong and others holding equally sincere and compelling views that the continuous flow of cheap credit into our country will completely destroy the remnants of our dreams for a better society for all of us.”

    I agree it’s very complex, but I think that is a misrepresentation of the what’s happened in the debate on the left (let’s just leave the righties out of it for now).

    Can those people who have named racism on ts please state clearly if they support legislation/regulations that limit overseas investment in NZ property/land?

    I do.

    I think this will clear up the misconception that the people naming racism are somehow ok with the current situation.

    • Karen 5.1

      I am one of the people appalled at how Labour have handled this issue. I have already said that I don’t think there should be any overseas investment in NZ land and housing, but I will say it again.

    • DoublePlusGood 5.2

      I consider that Twyford and Labour’s were racist and raised the issue of foreign ownership in exactly the worst possible manner.
      I also support restrictions on the ability of those who are not at least permanent residents to buy property/land in New Zealand. That is irrespective of where those people come from.

    • tinfoilhat 5.3

      I’m another that thinks we should strengthen up legislation/regulations that limit overseas investment in NZ property/land Weka.

      I’m also pretty disgusted at what was a none to subtle clumsy xenophobic dogwhistle by Labour, but not nearly as disgusted as those on this blog who either have chosen not to call it what it is or only want Labour to stop because it may be bleeding votes.

    • Bill 5.4

      From what I read, there wasn’t a single person who was calling out the racism who didn’t also want something done with regards property speculation.

      The list might be far shorter if those dogging on anyone who points to Labour’s racist framing of this would provide examples where any of those people they are dogging are also not recognising there’s a problem with house prices and property speculation.

      • weka 5.4.1

        True, although I suspect there would be prevarication on that and we’d end up no further ahead. But have at it anyone who can link to someone on the left naming racism and saying that there is no problem with property speculation or overseas investment.

    • I thought it was a deliberate racist presentation from labour to get votes and that was disgusting to me. I think the property bubble is bad and destructive to people. I do think those who don’t live here should not be able to buy land or property, nor kiwis in other countries btw and I would also put a limit on how many/much a ‘kiwi’ can own here. The systemic, historic, cyclic and generational issue of property bubbles and other speculative bubbles needs to be understood in context and addressed in context and I hope that happens.

      I think the debate here has shown all the good and positive things about this space and for that I am grateful – thanks.

      • Colonial Viper 5.5.1

        Yep I think this was a ploy out to Waitakere Man (and Woman) by Labour; certainly the only policy around this that Labour has raised in conjunction with this exercise is over a year old.

        One thing which increases my cynicism: where are the gutsy new proposals from Labour on this issue (other than “let’s collect more data”) designed to force National on the back foot.

        • Weepus beard

          That is totally at odds with Stephanie Rodgers’ claim that Phil Twyford has been doing a great job at keeping the pressure on Nick Smith regarding housing affordability in Auckland. Yet you say he’s done nothing, and frame it as some sort of sudden, publicity seeking stunt.

          Which one of the two of you is correct?

        • vto

          Good point. Labour has raised the issue, so where are the genuine solutions?

          And I agree it has been a calculated play to the redneck vote (plus te actual issue itself)

        • Thom Pietersen


    • lurgee 5.6

      I support legislation/regulations that limit overseas investment in NZ property/land.

      I also think Labour’s tactic was appalling and racist. I further also think it was deliberate. Stupid dog whistling and pandering to the dim witted idea of what a New Zealander is.

      Did they learn nothing from Dirty Politics and the 2015 election? The media would never give them a fair hearing (not that they deserve one for this). Never mid that it faux outrage voiced by smug biased hypocrites. If they didn’t realise how this would play out, they are fools.

      Obviously, they didn’t realise how it would play out, as they wouldn’t invite this sort of opprobrium on themselves.

      So they are fools.

      Oh well, there is always 2021.

  6. dukeofurl 6

    Dare I suggest it , but is a Blairite pivot in order ?
    i) move the narrative to ‘overseas’ speculators

    ii) more government involvement in new subdivisions for owner occupiers.
    After all if the national party gets landcorp to milk cows so that ‘overseas interests’ can buy up farmland, surely a government involvement in land subdivision is in order
    ( may even in partnership with land owners who dont have access to capital for subdivision).

  7. Skinny 7

    Meanwhile National go into overdrive with a volley of bright onwards and upward snake oil media releases. Tell me who is suffering most damage over this inaction on foreign non resident property ownership?

    Some of us are thinking of rubbing their noses right in it by organising a protest outside the Chinese Embassy. Might as well open up the protest to Faluan Gong and human rights activists. A burning of the flag will go down well with rednecks Kiwi’s too.

  8. Wonderpup 8

    I’m celebrating the fact the labour and progressive movement can have a conversation like this. It’s a bit of a meta comment… It does us no harm at all to have a good public conversation on how you analyse an issue that has obvious factors relating to specific countries. As every one in a good relationship knows, it demonstrates strength to argue productively, even if it isn’t resolved, and still understand there are larger values that tie us together.

    I’d also like us to remember which parties supported (and I know it was a while back, but its a fundamental issue for me) sporting contact with apartheid South Africa, and which continue to implicitly play the race card.

    • Weepus beard 8.1

      I’m celebrating the fact the labour and progressive movement can have a conversation like this. It’s a bit of a meta comment… It does us no harm at all to have a good public conversation


      I don’t see what all the fuss is about outside of Twyford’s core point, which is the increasing flight of Chinese capital into Kiwi’s houses is a very real and present danger.

      • John Shears 8.1.1


      • ex-golfer 8.1.2

        Meanwhile sellers all over Auckland are celebrating the receipts of their sales.
        I haven’t seen many stories of sellers turning down the record offers on their homes in favour of NZ residential buyers.
        I guess their faux outrage at the so-called Asian invasion is only as strong as their greed for returns.

        • Weepus beard

          Yep. Those people do not care one bit that the money they receive for their grossly inflated Auckland investment hovels has on it the blood of hundreds of millions of ill treated and voiceless Chinese workers.

    • Clemgeopin 8.2


  9. Sabine 9

    And maybe just maybe we realize that Kiwi born Chinese are having as hard a time buying a property then all the other Kiwis.

    And that there is a great difference between Mainland Chinese and Kiwi born Chinese.
    China is still a very much totalitarian Country, so IF you think that the people that are allowed to take money out of China to invest elsewhere are not supporters of the regime there then I have a few bridges to sell to you in Northland.
    As much as with Russia or the ex Democratic Republic of Germany DDR, the only ones that make it in these regimes are the ones that adhere to the Party line and climb the latter of the Party.
    How will that affect our Democracy? Oh, yeah…i forgot, one can’t mention that, lest one is called a racist.

    surely we can stop that discussion altogether, sing a song, build a cycleway and change the flag. This is so much more pleasant to discuss then the wholesale sell off by our current National Government to the highest bidder (and I guess at the moment these high bidders are to the largest part Mainland Chinese).

  10. The Baron 10

    Here comes Greggles with his syncophantic bandaid to staunch the massive arterial blood loss of credibility that is happening for Labour right now.

    I thought the left was better than disgusting, racist politics like this. And yes, before all you non-Asian Labour-fanpeople decry me as wrong about racism, I’ll point out that it isn’t your call – it’s the people Twyford and Little are discriminating against that are all calling it racist.

    You’ve just watched the fine values of the left go sailing straight down the river my friends. But don’t worry – Greg wants a chat about it. How pathetic.

    • BM 10.1

      So true, the arrogance of the labour has no bounds.

      It’s just staggering.

    • Skinny 10.2

      Spare us your horse shit Baron Von Land Banker. National’s pure inaction is politically motivated by propping up their Auckland home owner voter base. Peace of mind to this group is their property rises to the stratosphere with phenomenal appreciation in value. Greed overcomes a sense of a moral compass for future generations, whom for most have little hope of being in a financial position to own a home in Auckland. If you bothered to read TRP’s link to the low home ownership statistics you may have reconsidered your admonishment of MS and Labour.

  11. Anne 11

    Have just listened to an extremely interesting RNZ interview with Trevor Phillipson (hope name is correct), former chairman of the UK Human Rights Commission. The topic was in part about the profiling of different types of criminal activity and who exactly was committing them in Britain. The problem is, the police and other agencies (including municipal councils) were/are too frightened to investigate effectively for fear of being labelled racist. That is why many crimes in Britain were never fully investigated and as a result… terrible acts of gang violence in particular went unreported for years and are now coming to light.

    It struck me how close his experiences were to our own ‘profiling’ problems and in particular what is happening with the Auckland housing crisis. Kathryn Ryan eventually brought the issue to his attention and he gave her the benefit of his knowledge and experience on the subject.

    Part of his response:

    If you show people exactly what is happening, they will not have to guess it for themselves. When people have to guess they will always choose the most negative and darkest explanation. That is the reason why people become right wing in their way of thinking and vote in right-wing governments.

    He went on to make a fuller explanation and there are some very good lessons in the interview for the Labour Party.

    What a refreshing contrast he was to our current HR commissioner!

    • Anne 11.1

      Here it is:


      His name Trevor Phillips.

      • Clemgeopin 11.1.1

        Thanks for that link Anne. A thought provoking & educative interview.

        I especially agree and liked the statement in italics in your comment above.

      • RedLogix 11.1.2

        Still watching the documentary – even more pertinent. Best quote so far:

        The new rules are:

        1. All whites are alike

        2. All whites are guilty

        3. No whites are allowed to criticise someone who is not

      • Saarbo 11.1.3

        Thanks Anne…interesting.

    • tinfoilhat 11.2


    • ankerawshark 11.3

      100+ Anne

    • weka 11.4

      Anne, one solution to that dilemma is to solve the problems of racism within the British Justice and Police systems. When the dominant culture shares power amongst all its people, things change. Am willing to bet that the ethnicities in question also don’t want the kinds of crime going on but are still largely disenfranchised from the power to solve the problem.

      Nice point about knowlege and education.

      • Anne 11.4.1

        Couldn’t agree more weka. The ethnicities concerned must despise these thugs and fraudsters who operate under the radar in their name. But it’s the British establishment who are at fault for letting it continue to happen without proper oversight and investigations.

  12. RedLogix 12

    Sorry all I’m seeing here is re-working of the old ‘only white people can be racist’ argument. Try living in China for any length of time and get back to me about racism.

    Here are some facts about me:

    1. My oldest and still closest friend is of direct NZ Chinese descent.

    2. Back home in Australia my partner and I have ‘adopted’ a young mainland Chinese guy who is training at a local pilot school. We regularly have dinner out with him, coach his English, celebrate birthdays and exam successes together. I’ve learned heaps about flying planes from him.

    3. I know far more about Chinese traditional medicine than I should and still routinely see a practitioner.

    4. And if Tat Loo wants to say something about my support for him personally – now would be a good moment.

    So if anyone wants to stick the ‘I need a shower racist’ tag on me – please fuck off right now.

    Because what I’m seeing here is a complete misuse of the racist tag to silence people on a very real and present political issue. We all know China is rapidly assuming a dominant role in global politics and is on the brink of a massive economic, political and probably military expansion of empire.

    But if we cannot ever talk about this because anything we might say about China is by definition racist – then my response is utter contempt.

    PS – so last night I rang up my old mate about this flood of Chinese money into the country. He’s as pissed off about it as anyone. He feels as powerless in the face of it as anyone, because while he owns a home – his kids don’t.

    • Sabine 12.1


      so much this.


    • Anne 12.2

      If you have time to listen to my RNZ link Redlogix he touches – among other things – on what you are saying.

    • marty mars 12.3

      you don’t get it – ho hum, par for that course eh, but please more personal history that’ll convince people lol and don’t forget to ramp up your rage, HOW DARE THEY etc etc etc – you need a new routine red

    • Colonial Viper 12.4

      RL, your friendship and support on and off The Standard is incredibly valued by me and remains so. There is absolutely zero need in my mind for you to defend your credentials on race and equity, although I note uncomfortably that you did feel a need to. On this specific issue your comments have forced me to think through my positioning carefully and adjust my emphasis on aspects of it. I think there were far smarter political plays that Labour could have made using the very same material, but it simply wasn’t capable of it and the judgement of those who planned this foray is extremely questionable.

      By the way, I think that one reason Labour chose this tack on this issue instead of that of economic sovereignty, is that Labour has deliberately chosen to move away from “hard left” framing of issues and towards what they see as the centrist middle class.

      • RedLogix 12.4.1

        Respect CV. Sincerely.

        And I appreciate that you’ve had the integrity to express this the way it looks to you.

        Labour has deliberately chosen to move away from “hard left” framing of issues and towards what they see as the centrist middle class.

        We’ve long be-moaned Labour’s lack of connection with ordinary voters. I can see how chagrined you must feel that it this – of all things – was the one they picked on.

        What all the ‘isms’ have in common is the mis-use of power – so where does the power lie here?

        • Colonial Viper

          Labour have the media platform. They’ve used that in a way which has made daily life that little bit more uncomfortable for me and others who look like me (although every Asian in this country is used to cycles of this stuff from our politicians) and done so for no good reason. That is – I think taking foreign money out of the Auckland housing market will indeed mildly delay the price rise of a typical $800,000 Auckland house from climbing over the million dollar mark.

          But think – what class of Kiwis exactly is that going to help. Certainly not young workers on $50K pa.

          Where Labour has stuffed up is that there is a generation of young professional Kiwi Chinese who are media and social media savvy – who are pushing back at the way this has been done.

          By the way, there is no love lost between established Kiwi Chinese and wealthy investors from the PRC. Labour simply wasn’t smart enough (or willing) to realise the wedges available to them to bring Kiwi Chinese onboard with their initiatives.

          • Anne

            Just to let you know CV that we have diverged on this issue but my respect for you is unchanged. I take your point and I’m glad you’ve made it. This controversy must be making life very uncomfortable for you and so many others from an Asian background. Those who will be responsible for the discomfort come from my ethnicity too which is shameful. But we are as powerless to do anything about it as Chinese NZers are over their off-shore wealthy speculators and investors.

            We should be working together on the problem.

    • Paul 12.5

      Peter Calder.

      “I’m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”


    • weka 12.6

      “But if we cannot ever talk about this because anything we might say about China is by definition racist”

      More false framing. Please cite 3 examples where someone on the left on ts has said that. If you can’t, then please stop misrepresenting the arguments.

      I’m not sure that anyone has called you racist either.

    • Chooky 12.7

      +100 RedLogix @12

    • johnb 12.8

      Classic. “My best friend is Chinese”. Gob smackingly unbelievable. Maybe Twyford should try this.

  13. Sabine 13

    Can we please stop now. All we do is feeding the ones that had their fee fee hurt – and most of them are not chinese.

    do I care about an article in China that is unhappy with the Labour Party? No more then the Chinese would cares about an article decrying human rights abuses in China.

    Can we please discuss the fact that NZ Property Owners and Landowners are selling the country to the highest bidder? Can we talk about the fact that foreign money is ruining our access to housing?
    Can we please discuss the fact that homelessness is raising, that children are effectively living as transients changing schools up to 4 times a year due to housing instability?
    Can we discuss the fact that in a time of a housing shortage our National Government is openly discussing selling our State Houses to Australians or if they don’t come through like the social welfare providers aka Sally Army or other Community Housing Groups to anyone else (inclusive Mainland Chinese) who will pay the price?
    Can we call the National Government racist by refusing to make the State Houses available to Kiwis or all walks of life, can we call their need to sell it to overseas companies racist??Nope ? Thats not sexy and generates no outrage with the constantly outraged Purity Brigade?

    Can we please discuss the issue at hand. Homeless, Houseless, overcrowed, freezing cold Kiwis that have been locked out of a market with lending rules that are impossible to meet, while at the same time they are considered rich enough to pay someone elses mortgage, and if they are not rich enough the tax payer will pay the mortgage for the investor via the Accommodation Supplement.

    • You_Fool 13.1

      It would be nice to discuss that and I wish that was the discussion we were having. Unfortunately some ham-fisted analysis with no pre-thought and too much foot to mouth action means that is not the discussion we are having at all…

      Better start to the discussion (and I know this is very similar to the actual start)

      Thanks to National, we have no data on this and this is the point that needs to be repeated over and over, not “oohhh chinese people!!!”. We can use the fact that the only data we do have is the last names of buyers and that we can infer some nationality from that data and then compare % buyers to % of the population (which was what was done) and then point out that there are some ethnicities which appear to be over-represented in the data. Whilst it is not even close to proof or even good statistics this can lead to an assumption that there is a high percentage of overseas chinese last name buyers. This can be further seen by comparing other distinct ethnic last names, i.e. possible Indian buyers which accounted for 9% of the purchasers but 6% of the population. This points to the fact that the possible chinese buyers being so far out of expected proportion. It is hard to actually know if there is an issue or not because there is no data, and the National government are refusing to collect any, so how are we to know what the issue is other than by taking what we have and making huge assumptions? meanwhile whilst the national government wring their hands and say sweet nothings, young kiwis wait and watch the house prices skyrocket and know they are unable to come close to being able to afford a house.

      On a (very) side issue saying “some of my best friends are…” does not make you a non-racist. It is a very white middle class thing to say to try and prove your liberalness but that doesn’t give you a clean bill of health.

  14. ankerawshark 14

    Yes Anne, yes Sabine and yes RedLoxit.


    It is National’s policy of not regulating our property market to overseas speculators that is driving racial hatred. See Martyn Bradbury’s post on TDB about Pakeha cheering at auctions when they win out in the bidding to an Asian bidder ……………..very worring this is happening.

  15. Macro 15

    I believe everyone should take some time out and listen to this very useful interview with Kathryn Ryan this morning on this very topic.
    I believe it has to be said. We have to be open about it. It is not racist to say that one group of people are flooding a small market by world standards with money when there is ample evidence to its truth. This is not to point a finger at those who have a long association with NZ, it is merely an attempt to highlight a significant problem. Pray tell me how else it could have been done?
    If people do not speak up about their concerns the matter will only fester and get worse.

    • Anne 15.1

      Pleased Macro you, too have brought the interview to the attention of readers. It’s a must listen! Unfortunately there are some who don’t want to understand the issues and become better informed.

    • You_Fool 15.2

      it is not racist to say that there are foreign chinese buyers buying up NZ property. It is racist to make your entire argument around “oh no the chinese are coming!!”

      Also there were better ways to frame the argument so that those on the right who would always jump up and down saying “look labour r teh racists!!!@““111!!!!” would look like they were avoiding the argument. The way this has been done they don’t look so out of place, which is a pity as the discussion on foreign ownership is an important one…

      • Macro 15.2.1

        “oh no the chinese are coming!!”
        No one here has said that – nor did Phil Twyford or Rob Salmond or any other. To say otherwise is disingenuous.

        • lprent

          Actually some people have. The people decrying “racism” rather than looking at the current causes for the persistent bubble in housing prices in Auckland. The base causes are known, a lack of supply of the right mixtures of property being built. But that should have eased years ago as the market adjusted to the shortage of supply. It hasn’t, it just keeps getting worse.

          • weka

            Is that people on ts? Because I haven’t seen anyone bringing up racism who also doesn’t acknowledge there is a problem in Auckland with overseas investment. I missed the start of the debate though.

        • You_Fool

          So what are you saying, Mr Twyford? Are you afraid the Chinese are coming? Because that’s what it sounds like, what you’re saying.

          What I’m saying is that there is a tsunami of Chinese investment headed towards international real estate markets, including New Zealand. These numbers are coming from Juwai.com, the preeminent Chinese website that markets real estate, including New Zealand real estate. There’s a whole industry marketing our houses to Chinese investors.

          Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/thenation/transcript-labour-housing-spokesman-phil-twyford-2015071112#ixzz3fvMEpwmp

          To paraphrase Mr Twyford: “The Chinese are coming!”

          How often in the interview on the nation did he say “chinese” and whilst the interviewer tried to divert off onto the real topic; lack of data on who is buying homes and why they are buying, Twyford brought it back to the chinese

          • McFlock

            Actually, Twyford referred to Chinese investment.

            The problem at the moment seems to be that the Chinese aren’t coming – just their capital, which drives up the house prices for everyone who actually lives here.

            • You_Fool

              The important thrust was the chinese bit, even if he didn’t mean it that is what he has said and what is being reported, and as stated elsewhere Twyford has been a politician long enough to know how his words would be taken. There were other ways of saying all this, but concentrating on foreign not chinese and by referring back to the lack of data more and how National is dragging their heels and the only analysis we can do is surname comparison, even though this is bad stats and infers incorrect assumptions. The fact is this is the only data we have, and that’s not good enough if we want to know what the issues are and work out a way to fix it. The lack of data shows that national doesn’t care.

              • McFlock

                Well, it’s not actually all that bad from a Bayesian statistical sense. Using the names & self-reported ethnicity probabilities to establish the initial assumptions was pretty solid.

                The only reason that the analysis was done was because the tories are doing their usual and saying that there’s no problem so they don’t need to measure it. Child poverty is the similar thing that comes to mind where they tried that one.

                So to demonstrate that there seems to be a problem, you need to mention the specific justification you have for thinking there is a problem.

                I’m sure some people will bark at the dog whistle, just as I’m sure some people think that any mention of ethnic differences is racist (even when the assumption is that all resident ethnicities would purchase property at roughly the same rate). But the alternative is to dance around the evidence for saying there’s a problem – that would look even worse and be an even louder dogwhistle, in my opinion.

                • You_Fool

                  My issue is with the messaging, which relied heavily on the evil chinese as the bad guy, not the lack of data nor lack of direction or action by the national government – which is the true tragedy.

          • Paul

            Peter Calder.
            ” I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”


          • Skinny

            So the Central Government banks of China allocate cheap 1% loans to it’s National’s to invest in property in foreign countries like New Zealand. As a condition that for whatever reason the loan can be recalled in full at short notice if deemed necessary. If you don’t pay up in full you can be arrested and jailed. So just like any bank when you take out a loan the loan is held over the property. Taking this view the Chinese government is buying here since their state banks have a hold over the title, and can force foreclosure if these choose too. Wonder what’s protections are in place for New Zealand?

            • You_Fool

              Of course any foreign investment from mainland china is funded and approved by the central government, and that those who are doing the buying are inherently.

              Also it is almost a certainty that there is mainland chinese buying investment houses here with no intention of living in them, or even moving to NZ, and anyone who thinks otherwise or who is not worried about the PRC government buying (via the party faithful) land here is a foolish bridge buyer. To discover the issues one only needs to pay attention to Hong Kong where the people are of the same ethnicity and generally the same cultural background (although Hong Kong people would claim otherwise.) To think that issues won’t pop up here in some way is definite foolishness.

              However the bigger problem is foreign ownership full stop (not any subset of that) and the lack of data showing what this may or maynot be. Even a step above that would be to know what percentage of houses are being brought to live in and which as investments and/or rentals. Also how thinly or otherwise are these rentals spread? Of course none of this is known, and this is a problem and the issue that should be pushed by the labour party, but no the words used are centred around chinese investors, or worse yet chinese sounding buyers.

              There is time and ability to turn the direction the conversation is heading, and it should be. We should be worried about who is buying the houses and why the house prices are spiralling out of control. But to know this we need data on who is buying homes and for what purpose, and for that we need the national government to pull their head out of the sand and actually do something for a change…

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                foreign investment from mainland china is funded and approved by the central government…buying land via party faithful.


                That’s a far better example of a statement which relies on the racist notion of “evil Chinese” than anything Twyford said.

    • weka 15.3

      “Pray tell me how else it could have been done?”

      I’ve put out ideas on that several times and had no response. Others too I think. Not going to do it again because I now believe the question is rhetorical.

      There’s nothing wrong with raising the issue. It’s about how it was done.

      We are still really bad in NZ at dealing with racism, and I think this debate is another example.

      I can tell you my experience from the other side of the debate. I’m relatively anti-immigration. I don’t think we should close our borders, and I think we should change immigration criteria away from economic to cultural, but I also think that we have problems in NZ arising from various existing rules (including how immigrants are skewing the property market, but also jobs). It’s reasonably hard work to talk about this because usually the debate arises when Winston Peters is doing one of his dog whistles and then there is the ensuing debate around racism that means we don’t really get to talk about the deeper problems free of that. But that’s because we’re just bad at owning the racism that already exists here.

      Likewise I have some pretty strong critique of overseas tourism in NZ. So I get that this is hard. I just don’t think there is any way around that until we get much better at dealing with racism in general.

      For me there is nothing wrong with raising the issue of overseas investment, but care needs to be taken if we are going to talk about this specific issue in Auckland because Chinese people here (NZers or immigrants or visitors) are already vulnerable to racism. If this were a debate about US investors it would be completely different. You can’t take the Auckland situation out of that context.

      All that needed to happen near the start was for enough people to recognise what the racism problems were and to take more care in how the debate went. I get that there are people who don’t know how to do that, which is part of the problem. But we’ve had Chinese people here on ts who’ve taken the time to comment and I think their voices have been largely lost. We’ve also had other people who have direct experience of racism. That’s a real missed opportunity. If we want to know how to do this better, surely they would be good people to listen to and have a conversation with.

      • RedLogix 15.3.1

        On this comment I’d like to think we’ve converged pretty closely. I was nodding through most of it until:

        If this were a debate about US investors it would be completely different.

        And can you see how that so looks like a ‘only white people can be racist’ argument? Besides we’ve brought up the issue of wealthy American’s buying up NZ before and the label just shifted slightly to ‘xenophobic’.

        Racism is the misuse of cultural power and stereotypes. It hurts the already powerless disproportionally. If we were talking about ordinary Chinese people who by and large earn low incomes and suffer pretty tough working lives I could not agree with you more.

        But this discussion is about very wealthy people with millions of dollars to drop on a house they often don’t even need to rent out. These are already economically privileged and powerful people. I’m not at all convinced the left in this country needs to be so very concerned about their sensitivities to us talking about them.

    • ankerawshark 15.4

      macro 100 +

  16. Clemgeopin 16

    I do not agree with your plea for Labour to ‘re-think’ this issue. Running away from discussing one of the causes does not solve anything.

    Phil Twyford has identified that one of the major possible reasons for the Auckland housing crisis is off shore investors buying houses and the data available points to the high probability that off shore Chinese investors are a major problem.

    Pointing that out does not make Twyford a racist. He is drawing a blindingly obvious factual conclusion from the limited data he has.

    ‘Our prison population is proportionately over represented by Maori.’ Is that a ‘racist’ statement?

    ‘People of European descent hold most high paying CEO jobs in New Zealand’. Is that a racist statement or just a fact?

    So this framing of this Auckland housing issue as being racist is insulting, stupid and wrong.

    I think many ordinary resident ‘East Asians’, including resident Chinese, may/will actually agree and support Twyford’s view as they themselves are finding it too hard to buy a house in Auckland. It is the overseas investors that are pushing up the demand and hence the fast accelerating prices due to pathetic supply. To know this for sure, this present useless government should open an overseas owners register immediately (and preferably give retrospective information for the last six years too). I fail to understand see why this clueless government has announced the very bare minimum and that too from next OCTOBER onwards ! Why not from immediately at least?

    The issue is the sky rocketing prices and honestly understanding all the ’causes’ and finding solutions to solve this huge housing crisis.

    Read this email from Mr Phil Twyford that I received yesterday:

    ” Dear Clem,

    Since Saturday, I’ve received many messages about the release of data that suggests foreign speculators are dramatically driving up the cost of housing in Auckland.

    As you will be aware, there’s been a lot of commentary and debate on this issue. The majority of feedback has been in support – but there have also been accusations of racism because the data indicated that lots of offshore investment was coming from one particular country.

    This is not about that. It’s about facing up to the effect foreign property speculation is having on the residential property market and having an open and honest debate about the housing crisis and how we fix it. Overseas buyers are making it harder for all New Zealanders to get on the property ladder, and that includes Chinese New Zealanders.

    It’s been Labour policy since 2013 to ban overseas, non-resident speculators from buying housing in New Zealand. If people want to immigrate to New Zealand, from whatever country, we’ll welcome them with open arms as new New Zealanders. If offshore investors want to build new houses, we’ll welcome that too, as that adds to New Zealand’s housing stock. But if they are speculating on New Zealand homes, at the expense of resident New Zealanders – whatever their ethnicity – we think that’s wrong.

    The ban on overseas speculators is just one example of our toolbox of policies to cool the Auckland housing market. We’ll also:

    Build 100,000 new homes over 10 years
    Refresh our state housing stock
    Ensure that all houses are warm and dry with a Healthy Homes Guarantee that assists with heating, as well as insulation
    Encourage investment in productive industries rather than speculation in the housing market

    Recently introduced government measures do little to fix either the supply or demand problem that is driving up prices.

    Unlike National, Labour takes the housing crisis seriously. We understand how important it is to our families, our communities, and to our economy, that all Kiwis have a decent chance of owning their own home.

    If you’d like to share your thoughts with me, feel free to reply to this email.


    Phil Twyford
    Labour’s Housing Spokesperson

    P.S. Click here if you’d like to read the original story in the NZ Herald
    click here for more information on the data.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 16.1

      Agreed Labour don’t need to rethink the issue at all. This was a political masterstroke even though it might not seem that way on first glance.

      Consider that the cost of housing is an issue for many New Zealanders. Many are concerned about the effects of overseas investors driving up house prices. Labour’s move has put the issue front and centre with NZ voters.
      Come the next election there will be a king maker. We all know who that will be.
      This issue and Labours stance on it policy wise aligns nicely with another party. It now makes complete political sense for the king maker to go into coalition with Labour over National.

      Quite masterful really.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Agreed Labour don’t need to rethink the issue at all. This was a political masterstroke even though it might not seem that way on first glance.

        We will see over the next couple of months. I personally feel somewhat thrown under a bus by Labour, so they better have got some serious gains for Kiwis out of it.

        • Coffee Connoisseur

          You shouldn’t (although I do understand why you might feel that way) as far as I am aware you are now a kiwi regardless of heritage (even if you weren’t born here).

          To me and I have worked with the analysis of data for many years, it is this simple. The top twenty names purchasing houses could indicate foreign buyers driving up house prices.
          The evidence is only anecdotal.
          Better information is needed to confirm whether this is indeed the case or not.
          From here we need to get that better data.
          Once we have that we can determine the true nature and magnitude of the problem.
          Then we can do something about it.

          There are a lot of racist bigots in this country for sure. Personally I don’t care where you, your parents or your grandparents have come from. If you or they have chosen to make New Zealand your home, then welcome. Feel free to take a look at any of the available houses and buy one. Buy two or three if you are in a position to.
          Everyone who lives here came from somewhere else.

          If you don’t live here, welcome. I’d recommend you check out the South Island, it’s where I’m from. It’s where the best All Blacks come from. The people are friendlier, and it is far more beautiful than the North Island.
          You like it that much you want to live here? Great, here’s what you need to do. Once thats all sorted and you have your residency, check out Trademe, Realenz and here’s a couple of realestate agents to talk to who can help you find a home in this wonderful country. Not into Rugby? Me either, Check out the beaches, the cafes, the fishing, the boating, the skiiing, the Restaurants and everything else you can do in this country. Stay away from the Kina my Maori mates try to offer you, it tastes like shit.

          Don’t want to live here? No need to buy a house then, you’d be better off spending you hard earned dosh and hiring a campervan to see the country instead. Here’s a list of really special places a little off the beaten track but well worth a look. These are places that not many kiwis know about. If you have time check em out too. Enjoy your time here, it really is the greatest place on earth.

          For me being a Kiwi is loving this country, wanting to live here and perhaps raise a family here if that’s what you want to do. I’m pretty sure that made you one a long long time ago.

          …. yes looking at that post I must be short of work today.

          • Colonial Viper

            This is the kind of 360 degree programme that NZ absolutely needs. A multi-layered system thought out in the national interest and in the interests of ordinary Kiwis.

            Problem is, our political parties have all but given up on anything like this in favour of letting the free market sort out the problems wherever possible.

      • Clemgeopin 16.1.2

        I am least worried about the dog whistle label of ‘racism’ being thrown around towards Phil Twyford and Labour because it is a false flag kind of easy bull shit framing either through fear of offending or afraid of being honest or through ignorance of the actual analysis of the available data or through blatant bias.

        One problem is the ineptness of our present useless government that has done bugger all to analyse the causes and help solve this horrendous housing crisis.

        This is what Fran O’Sullivan has to say :

        “Cabinet power broker Steven Joyce needs to do more – much more – than sniff the political breeze and concede the Government will likely publish some details of the extent of foreign ownership of the New Zealand housing market after October 1.

        For starters Joyce could ask government officials to run a filter over the data in the Auckland Council’s roll of residential properties sales over the last two years and determine how many of the buyers had offshore names and addresses and how much they paid for properties over the registered valuations at the time of purchase.

        The data is collected for rating purposes under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2002.

        It won’t be perfect – but like Labour MP Phil Twyford’s decision to release via the Herald analysis which suggests a growing and disproportionate level of investment by Chinese offshore investors in the Auckland housing market – it will shed a valuable light on an issue of major public importance.

        What it will do is give an indication of which buyers from which countries are acquiring properties here.”


        • Paul

          Peter Calder.
          “I‘m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”

    • John Shears 16.2

      Thanks C for reasoned calm non-racist post. How refreshing.

  17. Charles 17

    “Not optimal…”

    A few days ago I would have agreed. But since contacting Phil Quinn last night, I am convinced that what Labour did was racist and totally unacceptable, rather than “not optimal”. I thought they had acted clumsily on a hunch, instead, they actually went looking for “Chinese names” in an intensive, sophisticated and specific way. I do not know if any specific individuals in the Labour party are racists – and I very much doubt that many are, as individuals. In fact, the fears people hide behind apparently racist words/actions are often not anything to do with race/prejudice/hate. The problem is that the effect is the same. As an organisation, though, they have all unavoidably (and some unintentionally) become part of supporting a racist outlook.

    That’s all have to say on that. More words, less words, it makes no difference. The support they have recieved (from people who admit they don’t know what racism is) is disappointing, from my point of view, but I do not control the World.

    Edit: to answer weka’s request,

    “overseas investment” isn’t going far enough down the trail. It’s that focus that plonked the Expedients right slap bang on the race card. Go further down the line of issues, that’s where Labour will refind what they’ve lost.

    So no, I do not say the status quo is a good thing, but neither do I say that targetting overseas buyers is right, because the source of the problem lies further back.

    • Weepus beard 17.1

      Did you ask Phil what his solution is to the dangers of Chinese capital buying all the Kiwi houses?

      • Charles 17.1.1

        No, because it is not related to Labour forwarding racist arguments. If your phrasing of “…dangers of Chinese capital…” isn’t just co-incidentally an unfortunate choice of words, then I’m not arguing with someone who has already decided on which side they stand. You won’t sway me, I have no intention of attempting to sway you. It’s just my opinion.

        • Weepus beard

          There’s nothing unfortunate about the choice of words. It’s a fact. It is you and others who refuse to recognise the difference between Chinese and New Zealander.

    • Karen 17.2

      + 1 Charles

      It is the effect I am worried about. I felt the same with Shearer’s ‘beneficiary fixing the roof.’ Labour should be better than this.

      • Paul 17.2.1

        Peter Calder.
        “I‘m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”


    • Steve Reeves 17.3

      No, they did no go looking for Chinese names.

      Take a read of the conversation here…and particularly Rob Salmond’s points:


      In particular: “I ran all surnames for all sales, and estimated eleven ethnicities for each name. The *data* showed ethnic Chinese purchasers as the demographic outlier, not me.”

      • Charles 17.3.1

        “…I ran surnames….”

        Do you know what they had to do, to do that? It’s been phrased to hide the lie. Don’t worry about it. It’s done.

        • Steve Reeves

          No…”..I ran all surnames…” is the correct quote.

          And yes, I know what that means…because I read the full description. I suggest that others should too.

        • McFlock

          From Steve’s link:
          “Chinese names weren’t singled out; it was just that surprisingly high 39.5 percent figure that stood out and was thus focused on.”

          If you have some clear evidence of how the methodology could be expected to be false, feel free to state it.

          But not everyone who says “Chinese” is being racist, just as not everyone who says “female” is being sexist.

          I believe that you and phil are both seriously misrepresenting the analysis.

        • Clemgeopin

          I am wondering if you have actually read this original article or not?

  18. mike 18

    Peter Calder has a good piece in the herald about how it’s an outrage that house prices have been allowed to get to this point. It’s something Cullen and English have allowed to fester. It needs to be clear it’s not a race issue, it’s a sovereignty and equality issue.

    • Weepus beard 18.1


      • Colonial Viper 18.1.1

        Yes they did.

        That’s why I am very cynical about their recent finding of “courage” to tackle this issue.

        You should recognise that Auckland houses didn’t leap from $300,000 to $850,000 over the last 14 years based on non-dom Chinese investors – although they represent a significant problem now.

        • Anne

          Yes. Labour does not get off this one scot free.

          Here is Calder’s quote in full:

          I was not alone in seeing it coming, a long time ago. After Labour’s landslide victory in 2002, I wrote to Finance Minister Michael Cullen, imploring him to use the Government’s huge mandate to seek from National a bilateral agreement on policies to disincentivise investment in residential property. I didn’t get so much as one of those offhand form-letter acknowledgments.

          If the fact that the residential-property spree was diverting money from productive enterprise, lowering the tax take and pushing house prices up was apparent 13 years ago to me – a man who couldn’t balance his own chequebook – I think it safe to say that quite a few people who had the minister’s ear knew all about it.

          Cullen did nothing and Bill English, who took charge in 2008, followed suit.

          But I know Phil Twyford well and I believe his cause to be genuine and sincere.

  19. Gareth 19

    Fear the British: http://tonyalexander.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/BNZ-REINZ-Survey-March-2013.pdf
    They buy more property than the Chinese (18% compared to 15%) and they are are not moving over here to live in it (81% compared to 63%)

  20. vto 20

    So if Chinese names stood out and this implies foreign Chinese buying…..

    How many English names were there in comparison? I would suspect heaps more – which means it is in fact English non dom money flooding in….

    following the logic chain that is

    • marty mars 20.1

      + 1
      Yep but too much for some because ‘they’ look like ‘us’. It’s like 40% are xyz – so therefore 60% are zyx – what are you going to do about that???

      • maui 20.1.1

        Except I would assume that there are more surnames of NZ citizens that are “English/British sounding” than any other nationality. So it would be a wrong assumption to say look there’s 60% of names that are British sounding on the list, so they must be all overseas buyers, when they’re much more likely to be kiwis.

        • Colonial Viper

          Labour could have at least recognised and stated that immigration from the UK is at least as high as that from China. And check out the demographics of those people who own empty million dollar holiday homes in Queenstown and Wanaka. IMO they are not predominantly Chinese. But Labour had a certain focus they wanted to portray, which is what they did.

          • McFlock

            The first is irrelevant to the debate of overseas-owned property.
            The second was unavailable to Labour, because the data they were given was for a limited period of time in Auckland.

            Hence the need for a public register of non-resident property owners.

            • Weepus beard

              Arrrgggh, so true.

              CV showed promise earlier today that he’d left the race thing behind but now he’s back to posting irrelevancies about immigration, which this particular issue is not about.

              Why is CV not called out for diversion???

            • Colonial Viper

              LOL Labour caused all this furore in order to call for “more data”

              Fucking political genius

              The first is irrelevant to the debate of overseas-owned property.

              But totally relevant to a discussion on home affordability for Kiwi first home buyers.

              • McFlock

                It’s not just first home buyers getting fucked by the market, it’s everyone other than people with access to large amounts of capital.

                As to “all this furore”… it’ll pass, and then you can get back to talking about how German banks helped fuck Greece.

                • McFlock

                  Actually, I’m sorry about that last bit, and take it back. It was pointless, simplistic, and a distraction.

                  I’ll sign off for the night.

    • McFlock 20.2

      Or you could just have a quick look at the summary tables and figure it out for yourself.

      Indeed, you might find out that “European” names correspond to pretty much the same percentage of house buyers as “Chinese” names, which is a bit weird given that one population is six times bigger than the other, which is pretty much the entire point.

      • vto 20.2.1

        Sure, but still, who wants more blimmin’ poms here either? Not me that’s for sure. Bring me the Chinese with their comparatively civilised and peaceful ways any day.

        English accents – give me a shiver every time I hears them.

        • McFlock

          That might be your opinion, but your preferred immigration policy has not really got much to do with an overheated housing market likely driven by non-resident money, has it?

          • vto

            No nothing.

            Re the actual problem, I am on board dontcha worry about that. I have been rabbiting on about exactly this looming problem to people around me for close to 15 years.

            It is a serious problem which has a massive impact on the health of our communities.

            It must be addressed…..

          • Colonial Viper

            has not really got much to do with an overheated housing market likely driven by non-resident money, has it?

            Steve Keen is pretty clear on this point. Accelerating levels of mortgage debt ‘prints money’ into the property market fuelling property bubbles. Non-dom cash flowing in may have become a big factor in the last two or three years, but probably not for the ten years before that.

            • McFlock

              The point being that “probably not” has little evidence without a register of overseas owners – in the noughts it might have been americans bailing from their war economy.

              But mortgage data is here, house values are here. No overseas ownership register, though.

              My machine is a bit busy at the moment to cobble the two together.

            • greywarshark

              That’s a good point that the purchase of property by overseas investors or immigrants has been going on for years. But it is coming to a head now with figures that can’t be ignored, except by the present government. They won’t address the problem of lack of stats until forced to. Maybe there was a better way, we certainly don’t want anti feelings. But they were building up before this, people were talking, it’s time to air the problem before this irresponsible govt causes harm.

  21. Lynda Brown 21

    I don’t know what I find worse – Twyford’s shabby racist headline-grabber or friends on the Left tying themselves up in demeaning knots trying to justify it.
    If the same had been done by Colin Craig or Winston Peters there’d be a chorus of outrage from the Left.
    I wonder who will be next for the insidious trawl through surnames.
    The trawl makes my skin crawl.

    • Clemgeopin 21.1

      I think a little bit of truth and some basic education in statistics might hopefully ease your skin crawl.

      Have a read of this:

      You are welcome!

      • Gareth 21.1.1

        That is not any sort of education in statistics, that’s a whole bunch of strawmen and waffle.

        “But the standard for using data in policy debates has never been: “you’ve got 100% proof at an individual level, or you’ve got nothing.” If it were, then we would have nothing pretty much all the time. Opinion polls, for example, never prove anything at the individual level, but it’s quite the nihilist who says they don’t provide any helpful information.”

        Wrong, you would have lots all the time if you get 100% proof at an individual level, and opinion polls do actually prove something at an individual level. If 20 people answer the poll saying yes, then you’ve got 20 individuals who have said Yes. Not 20 people whom you think would have said Yes based on which country you think their last name came from originally.

        “So, what are the objections to what Labour did? There are two main alternative explanations offered for the statistics Labour uncovered:

        Resident ethnically Chinese Aucklanders buy much more property than members of other ethnic groups; or
        The data are biased.”

        Those aren’t actually the objections. The objections are that it’s a shitty thing to do to beat up on one section of society based on magic numbers.

        With regards the alternatives, rather than your two strawmen, the third alternative is that you’re mis-measuring how many people are ethnic Chinese because people have whatever names they have and you’re making assumptions.

        He then waffles some more about his two strawmen, and concludes with

        “Can Labour prove that any individual buyer is foreign? No. All we have is their last name.

        But can Labour conclude on the preponderance of all available evidence from the aggregate data that there is likely a large impact of offshore investment from China in Auckland’s real estate market? Yes”

        He should have left out the last paragraph. The first bit’s right. You can’t prove squat because all you’ve got is a bunch of last names.

        Despite his unjustified assertion, the available evidence smacks his assumptions around the head too. The actual evidence based on real numbers says that British overseas investors are a bigger problem: http://tonyalexander.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/BNZ-REINZ-Survey-March-2013.pdf

        • te reo putake

          That Alexander analysis is two years old. The massive inflow of money from the Chinese investor class has been since then. That’s the issue du jour, actually.

          • Gareth

            At least the Alexander analysis is actual evidence, unlike the stuff Twyford is pulling out of his butt.

            You make an assertion in your second sentence. Prove it. Show us actual evidence instead of anecdote and speculation.

            While you’re at it, compare to levels of British investment to provide context.

            [lprent: Twyford’s rough analysis makes that quite clear.

            Now if you have ANY actual evidence to refute that analysis, then do so. Either put up or shut up. But you won’t be able to put up – because I suspect that you are a simple lazy fool who barely has the intelligence to pull up your pants..

            But don’t display your complete lazy stupid troll ignorance here. Or you won’t be able to comment here again. Your commenting rights have been temporarily rescinded until you acknowledge this not. ]

            • Gareth

              LPrent, the link was to Rob Salmond’s analysis, not Twyford’s. In my opinion it’s pretty weak stuff as I sad in my original post and Keith Ng agrees.

              I have provided a study which does have credible data,

              TRP complained that it was 2 years old and thus out of date. I’ve asked him for more recent data. I can’t find anything more recent on the issue, so we’re left with the 2 yr old stuff until the new rules come in later this year.

              I am not a troll.

              • I wasn’t complaining, Gareth. In fact, I quoted Alexander’s work in my post this morning. It’s the difference between his analysis of the available data two years ago and the analysis of the available data on the weekend that is interesting. There is obviously a huge increase in off shore purchases in the last two years. Alexander and Salmond did broadly similar kinds of number crunching, though Alexander’s survey was nationwide. It was a survey, by the way, so in one sense, Labour’s data is more reliable, because it’s based on actual sales.

                • Gareth

                  Alexander’s survey was broken down into Auckland and regions, so you can still pull Auckland specific numbers from it.

                  The data point that people with names that sound Chinese are buying more property is reliable.

                  To go from there to we’ve got to do something about these Chinese people who are ruining our property market, I believe, is a leap too far.

                  Like I said below, I agree that foreign investors in property are a big problem… hell local investors who buy property and leave it vacant are a big problem.,. but I think that focusing on the Chinese ignores the foreign investors who look like white middle class NZ and speak English but who are just as much of a problem. For some reason, some people don’t seem to mind those investors as much.

              • lprent

                Keith Ng is wrong in his analysis.

                I have used this type of name data with roll data, and then tested on the ground. It is very accurate statistically for that particular group. More than 90%, probably more than 95%. It is most inaccurate for the long established due to intermarriage.

                Looks like the property data is accurate as well based on barfoots response.

                It is currently the best available dates for the last 2-3 years.

                BTW: removed the block.

                • Gareth

                  I know this isn’t evidence or anything, but can you tell me what nationality Lena Mok is?

                • Gareth

                  To elaborate, I’m guessing you were testing for ethnicity, not citizenship with that roll data.

                  I’m not disputing that the data shows that a lot of people on that list have a Chinese ancestor somewhere in their family tree.

                  That’s not what Phil Twyford is saying though.

        • Clemgeopin

          Phil Twyford was not proving any thing. From the available data, he was pointing out the possible conclusion. Now it is up to the government , if they are honest, to PROVIDE accurate data, analyse it, find the causes of the massive housing crisis to try and solve it urgently.

          Simply bleating away that Twyford is wrong or racist or this and that solves zilch.

          • Gareth

            “Phil Twyford was not proving any thing.”


            “From the available data, he was pointing out the possible conclusion.”

            There was no data in his release. There was supposition, assumption and assertions.

            “Now it is up to the government , if they are honest, to PROVIDE accurate data, analyse it, find the causes of the massive housing crisis to try and solve it urgently.”

            The government has already committed to at least gather accurate data. Why pre-empt them by gathering twaddle?

            “Simply bleating away that Twyford is wrong or racist or this and that solves zilch.”

            Who knows if Twyford is wrong? If he’d come out and said that the voices in his head were telling him the Chinese foreign investors were the problem, it’d be much the same. The voices in his head might be right. What I’m saying is it’s not ok to create policy based on the voices in your head.

            It is not ok to create policy which is not based on evidence.

            • Paul

              Peter Calder.
              “I‘m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”


              • Gareth

                Was that a general comment aimed at everyone reading this?

                Are you saying I have cried racism? I haven’t BTW.

                Or are you just providing the link for everyone to read?

                I dislike anecdotes (which is all that article is). They’re good for getting an emotional response from people, not so good for establishing the facts of the situation.

            • mickysavage

              Do you have any evidence to show the contrary? There is more than enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that we do have a problem.

            • Clemgeopin

              Gareth, you are coming across like S. Joyce, the Shakespeare character that was protesting too much.

              • Gareth

                Hey, I posted two comment/replies for the first time in months and got a temporary rescinding of my posting rights. 🙂

                Other posters have taken the same side without half the feedback I got.

                For the record, if there’s a debate and people are taking sides, put me down as supporting whatever Stephanie’s position is.

                [The machine does some interesting things sometimes – MS]
                [lprent: In this case it was me. I put a temporary auto-moderation on until I was sure that he’d seen my moderation note. It is a technique that usually works. They go back and read their previous comments. ]

            • te reo putake

              Labour provided the evidence. So did the Herald. So did this site. The evidence is there if you want to read it.

              • Gareth

                If you’re referring to the Peter Calder article, that’s not evidence, that’s anecdote. This site has provided lots of conversation… it’s been split as far as opinions go, also not evidence.

                There’s been one piece of evidence and it says that people with names that sound Chinese have been buying lots of property.

                Jumping from how a name sounds to which country they are a citizen of seems to me to fail the common sense test. LPrent says it works and he probably knows more than me, but I can’t see how predicting someone’s country of origin based on their last name can be anything other than a guess.

                Then, we know that 2 years ago the British were buying more homes than the Chinese. If Rob Salmond’s work is to be believed they’ve gone from being 9% of the overseas investors to around 40% in two years. That also doesn’t sound right to me.

                I agree that foreign ownership is a problem, but in my opinion, you’ll find most of the overseas ownership escapes notice because “they’re just like us”.

                • I’m referring to the evidence provided by Labour, the Herald and TS. And linked to by just about every other media post on the topic. Labour and the Herald fully released their data.

                  • Gareth

                    So you’re talking about the one piece of data then.

                    The real estate sales figures that got leaked to Twyford, which lead to his media release which everyone is now repeating, and that a number of people including myself are rebutting.

                    The list of names of people who bought houses, which Rob then went through and based on an algorithm said “That one looks Chinese… so do these others. Oh those other ones don’t though.”

                    Keith Ng thinks it’s rubbish, Shamubeel Eaqub thinks it’s rubbish. I have read a number of arguments and agree with them.

                    I have read Rob Salmond’s defense and rather than trying to defend his maths he waffled on about (paraphrasing) how you can never be 100% sure of anything, the objections to his analysis being misguided, and this being one small piece of evidence in a pile.

                    • I’m talking about 4500 data points, Gareth.

                    • Gareth

                      I don’t think those data points say what you think they say.

                      I’ll go with Thomas Lumley who also thinks it’s rubbish. He’s a Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. To quote his bio: “His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with.”


                    • He doesn’t say it’s rubbish! He does seem to think the results may be overstated, but he seems happy with the process. Did you actually read the article?

                      “Personally, I’d guess that all these explanations are true: that Chinese New Zealanders (on average) buy both homes and investment properties more than other New Zealanders, and that there are foreign property investors of Chinese ethnicity.”

                    • Gareth

                      And you missed out the last sentence in that paragraph:

                      “But that’s a guess: these data don’t tell us — as the Herald explicitly points out.”

                      You can’t point at someone’s guess and say “Look! Proof!”

                    • So what. It’s an analysis of the data. That’s how analysis works. You look at the data and draw conclusions. And the conclusion is a massive increase in non dom purchases of our housing.

                      btw, the word ‘guess’ is in the first sentence I quoted. Are you sure you read the article?

                    • Gareth

                      Yes, I read the article.

                      To paraphrase, he said that their data does not show what they say it shows. It shows people with Chinese sounding names are over-represented in the sales figures. It does NOT show that these people are Chinese nationals.

                      He then said what you quoted which is that his GUESS is that Chinese NZers buy more property than most NZers AND that there are foreign property investors of Chinese ethnicity.

                      He then goes on to say that that is just his guess because that’s not what the data says. “Chinese sounding” doesn’t mean foreign, and it doesn’t mean from China. It means these people had a common ancestor from China.

                      Then he says if your definition of foreign investment includes his neighbors and excludes James Cameron, you’re doing it wrong.

                      Lastly he says he thinks it’s mostly a supply problem.

                      How you got support for your point of view from that I have no idea.

                    • You’re reading into what he says what you want him to say. He’s comfortable with the result of the labour data, though he thinks it might be overstated. That’s it. He’s not saying that the Labour supplied analysis is wrong, just that it may not be as right as it first appears. As I said earlier, so what?

                    • Gareth

                      Who’s reading into it what they want it to say?

                      His guess is that “Chinese New Zealanders (on average) buy both homes and investment properties more than other New Zealanders, and that there are foreign property investors of Chinese ethnicity”

                      Is that what Phil Twyford was talking about when he “predicted the trend would increase when a “tsunami” of Chinese money flooded in after the relaxation of foreign investment rules in China.”?

                      I look at those two paragraphs and I see two different conclusions.

                      From the good professor: “The Labour claim extends this by saying that many of the buyers must be foreign. The data say nothing one way or the other about this, and it’s not obvious that it’s true.”

                      “For example, house buyers named “Wang” in the data set are less than 4% of Auckland residents named “Wang.” There are at least three other competing explanations, and probably more.”

                      “If you have a measure of ‘foreign real estate ownership’ that includes my next-door neighbours and excludes James Cameron, you’re doing it wrong,”

                    • mickysavage

                      Gareth do you know what is happening in Auckland’s real estate market right now? If not how about you reserve your criticism of the conclusions.

                    • Gareth

                      Yes mickysavage, I am in the Auckland property market right now.

                      Since I am, I take it my criticism stands…

                      If you want to avoid engaging the points I raise, why don’t we look at the other side of this…. none of this matters a damn to the people in Auckland who still wouldn’t be able to afford to buy even if you shut down all foreign investment completely.

                      It’s all a complete sideshow. A dogwhistling sideshow that does nothing to help the most vulnerable.

                      Phil Twyford would have done better if he’d stuck to KiwiBuild and talked about how Labour is going to get those on minimum wage into safe dry healthy homes rather than yelling “There’s a flood of Chinese capital coming!”

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well, there is a flood of foreign non-dom Chinese capital (and other foreign capital) coming to our shores and we must guard against it.

                      Problem is, Twyford’s long list of Chinese names suggests a lot of Chinese buyers in NZ.

                    • Gareth

                      I’m with you on the first sentence CV, but you lose me on the second.

                      Phil Twyford’s list suggests a lot of people of Chinese ethnicity.

                      I asked LPrent earlier what country Lena Mok is a citizen of. I think he’d stopped reading by that point. She’s Canadian if you were wondering.

                      Is Mr Prasad an immigrant from rural India, an immigrant from London where he used to run a curry takeaway shop, a Fiji Indian farmer from Verevere or a 2nd generation NZer who lives up the road from me?

                      This is why statisticians are saying that you can’t take the data he’s taken and draw the conclusions he’s drawing. He may be right.. he probably is, but he’s drawing a magical fairy bridge between two things that aren’t connected. Ethnicity =/= Citizenship.

                      He can’t take the data he’s got and credibly claim this proves in his words “a tsunami of Chinese money”

            • Stuart Munro

              “It is not ok to create policy which is not based on evidence.”


              We can and should prepare to prevent problems which have not yet arisen.

              For example, when we have a treacherous and dishonest government that is so ashamed of its performance on foreign purchasing that it refuses to collect statistics, we can act to prevent further erosion of the local public interest. If the numbers of foreign purchasers ultimately proved not to have been problematic then no one would have been harmed by excluding them. But if the problem proved real, the response would be more timely.

              • Gareth

                I would say that’s a bad example.

                We had evidence of a problem, the government stopped collecting data, but others still are collecting data to a more limited degree and that data says the problem hasn’t gone away. Of course in that situation we should have policy to address the problem.

                If someone told you the Russians were planning to come to NZ and foster a coup, would you call for more scrutiny of Russian visitors and immigrants? Or would you ask for evidence?

    • greywarshark 21.2

      @Lynda Brown
      Trawl, crawl, maul, fall, haul, bawl, gall, call, pall. There’s some more words I have
      helpfully thought of so you can craft another spate of dismay, distress, disaster, distaste etc.

      This is a serious matter of young people not being able to buy or rent a place to live in Auckland at a price they can afford. If you are concerned join the discussion and understand the factors for the fast rising prices, and possible measures to stop bolting up. Or are you in the real estate business?

    • ankerawshark 21.3


      If there is a high proportion of Auckland houses being bought for speculative purposes by Chinese investors, do the citizens and residents of NZ have a right to know this? If we had very good data on this is it o.k. to release it? Would it make any difference to how the resident Chinese population feel or are perceived if the data is very good?

      Because I think the data leaked is pretty reasonable. We do need better data though. If better data was publicized it will still be problematic for local Chinese, that I can see, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know and discuss what is happening.

  22. Paul 22

    Peter Calder writes a brilliant article in the Herald.
    ‘Why we’re right to be angry.’


    ‘In the year to May, the average Auckland house price went from $502,100 to $616,500. It jumped by a quarter or, in raw dollars, by more than twice the average salary.

    That’s absurd. It’s obscene. And it makes me bloody angry, because my daughter has watched that average figure climb, all the while wondering whether her dream of home ownership is evaporating before her eyes.

    Competing at auction with developers and investors, local and foreign, either well-heeled or exploiting tax breaks and leveraging off massive paper equity or both, she’s like a toddler kid fighting a heavyweight with one hand tied behind her back.
    Now 29, she was born into a house her mother and I had just bought for $68,000. It wasn’t much; a bit run-down, on a south-facing slope. But it was in a suburb that has since become fashionable.

    In those 29 years, inflation has been 136 per cent. If house-price inflation had been the same, her birthplace would have an asking price now of about $160,000. Last time it sold, more than a year ago, it fetched more than $1 million – an increase of about 1400 per cent. Presumably you could add at least a quarter to that now, too….

    I’m angry that people I used to call friends, who worked in high-paying and productive jobs, some of them advancing the interests of the socially disadvantaged, now ruminate in semi-retirement, devoting a few hours a week to maintaining their property portfolios.

    I’m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.

    I’m angry that the Housing Minister dismisses the figures as flaky rather than instituting an inquiry to establish whether they are valid. I’m angry that the Government, far from shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, is wondering where the door is, or rather denying the existence of doors.

    We have betrayed a generation and generations to come and I’m angry as hell about that. In just 15 years of this century, we have destroyed one of the great achievements of the last one: making New Zealand a place where anyone who wanted to could have their own place to call home.’


  23. Adrian 23

    If you wish to believe that bullshit survey you’ll believe anything.
    10,000 agents, 355 replies = 3.55%, less than the margin of error.
    It’s put out by a bank and a bunch of real estate agents, it must be the God’s Honest Truth. None of them would ever lie to you, particularily when there’s money involved.

  24. Weepus beard 24

    I’m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.

    – Peter Calder

    There’s a fair bit of this stuff going on right here at The Standard. Some are being wilfully blind about the problem, for reasons I just cannot fathom.

    • Paul 24.1


      Obviously Quinn, Pagani and that crew are simply operating as they always do as the Trojan Horse for their right wing mates, but others? I don’t get it!

      Do they care more about the global elite or ordinary NZers?

      • Colonial Viper 24.1.1

        14 years on after the start of the Auckland housing bubble its far too late to be putting the blame on foreign Chinese money, although the role that plays needs to be eliminated from the market as does any other non-dom investment in NZ land.

        • Weepus beard


          That Labour-bashing swipe aside, it’s nice to see you have moved on and are now making the distinction between cheap Chinese money and domestically money made by Chinese New Zealanders whether resident, or citizen.

          • Colonial Viper

            Ah yes, are you some white guy telling teaching me about the distinctions between resident Kiwi Chinese and foreigner Chinese.

            Keep going, I wouldn’t want you to stop looking stupid.

        • Paul

          And it is time to do something.
          The horse has definitely bolted after 30 years of neoliberalism and we can either give up or stand up and fight.

          • Colonial Viper

            the programme we need is a comprehensive one addressing all issues of supply and demand of accommodation in NZ – including but not limited to banning the purchase of NZ land by non citizens and non permanent residents.

  25. Paul 25

    This isn’t a tough issue at all.

    As trp states, “It is a national disgrace that our home ownership rates are at an all time low. If we are not to become tenants in our land, John Key and his cronies need to put the interests of New Zealand ahead of their personal fortunes. Sure, it’s great for Key that his personal portfolio of McMansions is rocketing in worth, but it does the rest of us no favours at all.”

    Questioning NZers ‘becoming tenants in our land’..tough?
    You’ve got to be kidding.

  26. PI 26

    Actually, I think that National is hoping that Labour gives up on this.

    National knows it is greatly exposed on this issue. John Key looks exposed on this issue. National voters – while happy that their Auckland house prices are going up, are also wondering (1) whether their children etc will ever be able to afford a house; and (2) why, when it is time for them to ‘trade up’, they are getting blown out of the water at every auction.

    They cannot understand why there is no restriction on foreign ownership of residential properties, and why National is not moving on one. This is an issue that defies partisanship. I know of no one who is right leaning (and I know plenty) who would oppose such a ban.

    • Paul 26.1

      Peter Calder.
      “I‘m angry that simple-minded liberals cry “racism” when this newspaper publishes figures that suggest – no bolder claim than that is made – that Chinese buyers are exerting a powerful influence in the property market. I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”

  27. feijoa 27

    Once again, the National spin doctors have brilliantly divided the left

    • Weepus beard 27.1

      This isn’t a left vs right issue, it’s a haves vs have-nots issue. Battle lines are being drawn.

      • Kevin 27.1.1

        Why? If there’s a housing shortage then build more houses. Simple.

        • Weepus beard

          The equation is supply and demand isn’t it? Not just supply.

          National and Act legislators and voters love to bring up the “just build more houses” line but as the Auckland Council have pointed out there is not the central funding for infrastructure to allow for it.

          The immigration policy is set by the government of the day and if the government of the day wishes to open the floodgates on a cash for visa system like they are doing at the moment then they had better well stump up the cash to build the proper infrastructure to allow all these immigrants to be housed.

          Auckland Council doesn’t set the immigration policy, does it???

        • lprent

          *sigh* Unfortunately we have National around screwing that up.

          There are long leadtimes in getting a construction industry wound up, properties brought, and planning done. Typically it takes several years to go from I want to build accommodation to actually handing the keys over.

          Effectively everything in Auckland largely went on hold after the National/Act forced Auckland to adopt an unconsidered stupid governance plan of their own – after Rodney Hide ignored the Royal Commission’s findings and substituted his own idiotic ideas. Rather than being the evolutionary change that was the considered advice, he went for a revolutionary solution that caused all of the cities to be jammed together with all of their systems, rating systems, and everything else having to be made to conform to a single model within 5 years – ie this year.

          So this year some people got a 30% increase in the rates (like $1500 in Meadowbank) as the caps came off. And that was before the transport levy on top.

          But needless to say Rodney Hide’s stupidity also meant that all of the planning and inspection departments from what used to be 5 cities probably spent a lot of time in the last 4 years figuring out common practices than getting things approved. Of course they were also dealing with the vast numbers of court cases that went through from 2008 onwards on leaky buildings.

          That leaky building problem was caused by some particularly stupid decisions by National back in the 1990s to speed up building by reducing the checks for poor quality workmansip and design. Needless to say we got poor quality workmanship and design that costs far more time than they actually saved.

          The reason for a transport level was because Auckland is choking on traffic inside the existing city. National doesn’t want to try to fix that, as they prefer to spend the road and fuel taxes from Auckland to provide motorways in their own MP’s rural and semi-rural electorates. But they also don’t want Auckland to fix their own transport, so they canned a regional fuel tax – which this transport levy will help to partially replace… Meanwhile 7 years later we still have bugger all money going into useful transport projects that weren’t put in place by Labour. Instead we have National doing boondoggles like planning for roading projects that actually cost more than they return.

          So ignoring the transport problems that already exist – like the choked SH16. National want to put housing projects 27km’s out of Auckland and 15km away from employment, with no public transport (because they won’t pay for it), and for no apparent reason (ie probably one of those anonymous donations to the National party coffers)……

          A even simpler ‘solution’ would be to get rid of the stupid interfering gits from National and their subservient minions in Act. Then we could start getting some work done up here without the “simple” stupids (like you) holding us back.

      • Paul 27.1.2

        Spot on.

  28. Kevin 28

    How about we let folks sell their houses for the best price they can get to whoever and just build more houses if required? And if you’re worried about [racist terminology deleted] Chinese or Asian people buying them we can just build them with bad, um, what’s that [racist terminology deleted] bad luck thing called again?

    [Italic is my edit] – Bill

    [Really bending over backwards to give you the benefit of the doubt in light of other comments you’ve made that I’ve (admittedly, only very quickly) looked at. For the moment, I’m going with the idea that that was very badly pitched irony/sarcasm. I may be changing my mind and banning you for using racist epithets when I have a closer look at other comments you’ve made. Anything to say?] – Bill

    • Paul 28.1


      Micky, can this guy be banned please?
      Comments like these are not helpful to the discussion and likely to cause a massive derail ( as I guess is intended) from rational conversation about this important issue,
      It’s not a first as you can see from the eugenics comment made about the Pebbles Hooper debate below.

      What is it with Herald Gossip Columnists?

      • Clean_power 28.1.1

        Obviously, the word sarcasm goes well over Paul’s head.

        • Paul

          The extreme right wing are out in force again defending the global elite, thus proving this is an issue of the haves vs have nots.
          Yes clean power and his libertarian mates from the ACT party support property speculators from any country above the rights of resident hard working NZers.
          There are words for folk like you.
          Traitor is a polite one.

          • Clean_power

            Your inflamed rethoric of class-warfare does not pass muster. You need to do better. Back to school, Paul

            • Paul

              Do you really think Kevin’s comments about Ashburton were sarcastic as well?
              What don’t you defend?

        • stigie

          Nothing wrong with a bit of sarcasm, can make a blog better and interesting.

          • Paul

            Three trolls all operating at the same time.
            Someone with deep pockets really wants this conversation changed.

            • Clean_power

              Paul’s standard reply and modus operandi: call “troll” anyone who disagrees with him and exposes his glaring lack of arguments.

              • Paul

                I have disagreed with cv and Stephanie and debated with them.
                They don’t come on this site to derail though.

    • Kevin 28.2

      Of course it’s sarcasm – I’m making fun of the xenophobia displayed by people who think Chinese are taking over.

      [By the skin of your teeth… Leave out from making sarcastic or ironic comments until such times as you learn how to deliver them properly. And avoid the terminology you used, regardless.] – Bill

      • McFlock 28.2.1

        Who thinks that?

        • Kevin

          Anybody who bitches about Chinese buying up property while ignoring the fact that Poms, Aussies, Indians, Hollywood movie stars and god knows who else buys property here too.

          • McFlock

            Nobody is ignoring that fact.

            The thing is, at the moment the only stat we have to even indicate a level of overseas purchases is the extreme disparity between the proportion of Chinese residents in auckland and the proportion of people with Chinese names purchasing property.

            If you know a better way, using currently available information, of demonstrating whether there is any indication of a significant level of overseas investment in the Auckland or even NZ property market (thereby pushing up prices for residents), feel free to tell Labour what they should have done.

        • Bill

          Depending on where you sit on Labour’s dogwhistle/non-dogwhistle, there is a reasonable perception that an undercurrent of anti-Chinese sentiment runs through some comments.

          Given that it’s a perception, it’s not a simple case of ‘Who thinks that?’ with some expectation that unequivocal examples will be produced.

          • McFlock

            I think extreme and categorical claims need to be justified.

            Some comments might have a perceived undercurrent, but that’s no excuse to double-down on the outrage with allegations of xenophobia and racism, IMO. For example, you_fool “paraphrasing” Twyford’s comments.

            I think Labour needs to be very careful to avoid turning the debate into an orewa speech, but that doesn’t mean that it should avoid the issue at all.

            Currently, the only evidence of significant foreign speculation in the auckland property market unfortunately points to a specific source of that money.

            We need better evidence to identify the level of all overseas speculation: a register of non-resident owners.

      • Weepus beard 28.2.2

        And your comments on the Ashburton family?

        Sarcasm too, I suppose.

        Whatever shall we take from your comments as being considered and serious?

        Bill, you are being too generous, imo. This guy is trash.

        • Paul

          Clearly a troll sent to derail.

        • Bill

          Bill, you are being too generous, imo. This guy is trash.

          Maybe. Possibly even likely. He’s possibly just dodged one bullet. He certainly won’t dodge a second. Keeping a very close eye out…and any subsequent ban will be all the much longer, because it really fucks me off no end if people abuse my (sometimes) better nature.

      • Paul 28.2.3

        Peter Calder.

        “I’m angry that debate has become about xenophobia rather than whether non-resident foreign investors from whatever country you care to name are crushing our young people out of the market.”


  29. Sable 29

    Trust the academic half wits in Labour to complicate what is a simple problem with a simple solution. Restrict or eliminate foreign ownership of property in New Zealand. Secondly increase stocks of houses for Kiwis by offering concessions and tax breaks to New Zealanders building their first home. We have family in Perth and the state govt there (I do not know if this is still the case) offered a cash payment and other concessions to first time home builders.

    • Kevin 29.1

      You can’t restrict foreign ownership as people will just use proxies. The answer is if there is a problem just build more houses.

      • Paul 29.1.1

        Of course you can.
        You are showing your true colours….

      • Sable 29.1.2

        I think you could argue about proxies for a year and a day. I do not see why that is an insurmountable hurdle. Just keeping on building on its own won’t work. Prices need to be stabilized and that has not happened.

        • Kevin

          Ironically in China they haven’t been able to stop foreigners buying property using proxies. What makes you think we can do it?

          • Paul

            Ok, so it’s just a free for all for the global corporate elite, Kevin?
            Your only solution build more houses so they can buy even more.

    • Colonial Viper 29.2

      Also, no political party has stated the obvious: squeezing 1/3 of the population into 0.3% of the land area is a bad idea.

      • Paul 29.2.1

        Another issue that would be resolved by a socialist government, one that believes in the role of government is more than just being a doormat for the global market.
        Neoliberalism has destroyed this fine country.

        • Sable

          Indeed Paul. Whats needed now is common sense but I’m yet to see any. Just lots of excuses for doing nothing….

      • Sable 29.2.2

        Its the same issue I saw in Sydney Viper. The real issue is why is Auckland being promoted at the expense of the rest of the country? Its not as if we don’t have plenty of land for business and housing. Is anyone promoting other regions, again no such luck. Lack of vision, lack of leadership.

        • Weepus beard

          Auckland is not being promoted at all in New Zealand. There’s no campaign to get people to buy in Auckland here in NZ, but there is on Singapore radio, and in China with direct marketing from New Zealand based real estate agents greedy for commissions.

          As Phil Twyford has pointed out using the only information he could get his hands on, next to none of these buyers live in the country, nor have any intention of living in the country.

          • Colonial Viper

            Population growth in Auckland has been outstripping the regions for many years. Asian radio ads have nothing to do with it.

            • Weepus beard

              It’s indicative of the heavy promotion of Auckland’s residential property to wealthy off-shore Asian buyers.

              It’s happening, mate.

              Ignore it at young and low income New Zealander’s peril.

              • Bill

                You think young and low income NZers can afford to buy a home in any of NZ’s main centers?

                I mean, if the problem is mostly down to off-shore Asian buyers in Auckland, then affordability in the rest of the country would be fine, yes?

                Thing is, that’s not how it is. And that suggests the problem is far more fundamental and multifaceted than off-shore Asian buyers. But hey, them’s is apparently identifiable, so…

                • Colonial Viper

                  You think young and low income NZers can afford to buy a home in any of NZ’s main centers?

                  This is the point I come to as well. Taking out foreign money is probably going to slow the rate at which an $800K Onehunga house is going to cross over $1M.

                  And what kinds of Kiwis does that help, exactly? Not the worker on $50K pa, not the couple working minimum wage jobs, not the beneficiary.

                  But maybe the comfortable middle class types who are getting sick of being outbid by the foreigners at auction.

                  And I am picking that’s also the voting block that Labour has decided to target for 2017.

                  • Exactly – the crying for the kids is dubious – crying for domestic investment portfolios by middle class landlords more likely – but they’d use the kids every day of the week – selfish and greedy and transparent for anyone.

                • Bill

                  I reckon Adele hit the nail on the head with this comment on Open mike.

                  Open mike 15/07/2015

                  This so called conversation isn’t the first that’s led me to the opinion that far too many on the left suffer selective blindness and really need to fucking well sit down and take a long hard look at themselves, their politics (as opposed to their professed politics) and get some kind of a grip on NZ history and how it ripples through to today.

        • Colonial Viper

          Sable – exactly.

          All the projections show that Auckland population is going to climb and climb and climb. And the politicians sit back and consider it a fait accompli.

          • Paul

            Key is waiting to sign the TPPA.
            Then he’s off to Honolulu to play golf with his corporate owners.

          • lprent

            There is a reason for it. Pure productivity, which is what ultimately drives the creation of wealth, jobs and incomes.


            Cities today have a productivity advantage for different reasons, to do with ideas rather than costs. When one firm in a city comes up with a new technique, product or design, nearby firms may quickly build on it or hire its creator. One firm’s innovation boosts its own productivity but also spills over to other businesses. Companies that prefer seclusion cut themselves off from these “knowledge spillovers”.

            But the importance of spillovers seems to be increasing, even though the costs of communication are falling. Advanced information technology makes it easier for someone in San Francisco to speak to someone in Paris, but it also makes the ideas to be communicated more complex.

            That makes more densely populated places more attractive to people who want to share knowledge. Technology innovators and entrepreneurs congregate in Silicon Valley, for instance, rather than in smaller places where they have less to offer to, or get from, would-be partners. And knowledge-sharing among such people tends to make cities more productive as they get bigger.

            This connection between size, skills and productivity is not simply due to brainier workers choosing to live in more populous places. The cities themselves seem to promote learning. Mr Glaeser and Mr Resseger note that new arrivals to big cities do not receive the city’s wage premium all at once, but rather enjoy faster wage growth over time.

        • lprent

          I pointed the economic basis for the rapid recent large city growth world wide to CV

          Read this. It is the shortest precis of what I have been observing in the shifts in activity in Auckland (and elsewhere) for the last decade.

  30. Clemgeopin 30

    On a related issue:


    • In recent years, China has emerged as a major global exporter
    of capital. A striking example of this trend can be seen in the
    rapid growth of Chinese outbound real estate investment.
    From office buildings in Manhattan to shopping malls in
    Singapore, Chinese cash is surging into foreign properties,
    driven by economic forces and evolving business strategies in
    China and abroad.
    • Data1 indicate that Chinese outbound real estate investment
    reached a total of about US$33.7 billion in the period from
    2008 to June 2014, growing more than 200-fold during that
    time. Recent huge and highly-publicized real estate deals
    around the world highlight the growing presence of Chinese
    investors in overseas property markets.
    • Domestic restrictions and cooling growth in the Chinese
    real estate sector are pushing many investors to diversify to
    markets in developed countries, where signs of economic
    recovery and the prospect of asset appreciation promise
    attractive returns. Encouraging policies in China and abroad,
    the gradual strengthening of the renminbi, and the desire of
    many Chinese firms to internationalize are further fueling
    these capital outflows.
    • A variety of investors – including large private developers,
    state-owned banks and insurance firms, sovereign wealth funds
    and high-net-worth individuals – are jumping into foreign
    property markets. Cushman & Wakefield analysis shows
    that while state-owned enterprises and private firms each
    contributed around 50% of the total value of outbound real
    estate investment from 2008 to June 2014, private enterprises
    and individual investors accounted for a larger share of the
    number of deals.
    • Chinese investors prefer developed and mature markets
    in Asia, North America and Europe. The U.S. is the top
    destination, followed by Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore,
    Australia, Malaysia, Japan and Brazil. China’s investments in U.S.
    property are concentrated in so-called “gateway cities” in the
    eastern and western coastal areas as well as the Great Lakes
    region. However, investors are increasingly tending to diversify
    their asset choices and spread their investments across the
    • Britain is the first choice for Chinese real estate investors
    in Europe, with London alone taking 62.7% of the European
    total. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, EU leaders
    are looking abroad for foreign direct investment to create job
    opportunities and stimulate economic recovery. Over the past
    couple of years, the European real estate sector has emerged
    as a popular target for Chinese investors.
    • Asian destinations are also seeing a significant influx of Chinese
    funds. From 2008 to the first half of 2014, Hong Kong attracted
    the greatest percentage of mainland Chinese investment among
    all Asian regions, followed by Singapore and Malaysia. Southeast
    Asia is a favorite location due to its proximity to China and the
    strong presence of ethnic Chinese communities. In Singapore,
    Chinese investors prefer to invest in offices, whereas in
    Malaysia, land development is the preferred vehicle. Many
    Chinese developers view the Iskandar Malaysia development
    zone as having huge potential.
    • The two most popular investment models for Chinese buyers
    are greenfield investment and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
    Chinese developers often forge partnerships with international
    firms and institutions to reduce investment risks and gain
    access to a wider range of financing channels.
    • Investors face an array of challenges in the form of government
    controls on capital flows; talent shortages; differences in
    corporate and management cultures; and unfamiliarity
    with foreign legal and regulatory environments, including
    sometimes-daunting tax laws.

    Full details here:

  31. stigie 31

    “feel free to tell Labour what they should have done”.

    Should never have listed out just Chinese based names, maybe added some European names to the list, and maybe could have got away with it. Stupid Labour, gifting another one to National.

    • Ross 31.1

      European names? So if they’d added Smith and Jones, we could have drawn some inferences? Like what, exactly?

      • Paul 31.1.1

        Wasting your time.
        Stogie is only here to derail.

        • stigie

          You are a twat Paul, go back and read what i suggested, because someone asked a question.

          • marty mars

            Don’t worry stigie Paul is just trying to close the discussion down – he is authoritarian and dull – a typical ACT combination as it happens.

            • McFlock

              He certainly seems to have a high sensitivity for his accusations.

              Although I suspect if he had a higher specificity rate he might become a pretty good screening tool, but there’s not much chance of improving that on the interwebs 🙂

    • Paul 31.2

      You trolls are so dull.

  32. Ross 32

    “I believe we should take the lead from Singapore and Hong Kong and impose a 20 per cent stamp duty on non-resident purchases of Auckland property. Moreover, we should use the measures announced at the last budget on IRD numbers and NZ bank accounts to ensure that any resident purchaser is the beneficial owner.

    This is not an anti-Chinese policy, in the same way that the Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing property measures are not anti-Chinese. It is a macro-prudential measure, designed to prevent a property bubble.”

    I suspect the writer of this article won’t be labelled racist. So why Phil Twyford?


    • Colonial Viper 32.1

      Twyford singled out Chinese money and did not create a broad case for steps to clamp down on all foreign sources of money flowing into the property market.

  33. PI 33

    For those who argue you can’t restrict foreign ownership, I call BS.

    New Zealand already has comprehensive foreign investment rules for foreign investment above $100 million and for foreign investment in sensitive land (such as waterfront property and non-urban property over certain size thresholds). When I say comprehensive, I mean that the relevant legislation (http://tinyurl.com/ohyr4wo) contains very very broad anti-avoidance that cannot be legally structured around.

    Now, the existing regime is a consent based one – i.e. – it is not an absolute prohibition, but rather a requirement that OIO consent is obtained before the foreign investment is completed. However, the same machinery (particularly the anti-avoidance rules) could easily be used as a base for a prohibition on brownfields residential property purchases (the Australian position)

    Now, would this – in practice – prevent illegal investment? No. Nor does the current regime described above. If you want to break the law, you can. But this is the same for any law – and ‘people will just do it anyway’ is not a a supportable argument against implementing law.

    That said, I am sure that there could be policing measures implemented with any law of this nature to mitigate against flouting of the law, such as (random list off the top of my head):

    1. Require real estate agents to obtain identity verification information from buyers (much like banks are required to in order to satisfy anti-money laundering requirements) and a certificate from each buyer that the beneficial owner and controller satisfies any applicable NZ ownership requirements. Certificates must be lodged with LINZ. If you are found to have given an incorrect certificate, the property is forfeited to the Crown.

    2. Make real estate agents certify to LINZ for each sale that, to the best of their knowledge (allowing the agents to rely on the above information/certificates), the beneficial owner and controller of the buyer satisfies any applicable NZ ownership requirements. Knowingly giving a wrong certificate carries significant penalties, including the risk of losing your real estate licence.

    3. Impose significant penalties on New Zealand who intentionally facilitate prohibited foreign investment by acting as proxies/nominees.

    4. IRD to undertake spot checks of rental properties (particularly in Auckland) – allowing access to bank account and tax records. If money is flowing to an offshore party, this is reported to the relevant regulator – who can then investigate and determine whether the owner satisfies NZ ownership requirements and, if not, require forfeiture of the property.



    • Kevin 33.1

      All well and good except you’d need a Stalinist type bureaucracy to go over each and every transaction. And if not, the only way you’d get caught is if someone narked on you.

      • McFlock 33.1.1

        shit, you’re right, it’s almost as if we’d need mandatory reporting by banks of large financial transactions, maybe some sort of central department that demands income statements from anyone who earns or makes money in NZ, a method of following who owns what proerty and the value of the property as well as any structures or improvements on the land… it would cost billions… /sarc

        • PI

          Heh. You got to it first McFlock. I used AML/CFT as an example below, but the IRD is also a good one. Our tax system is based on self-reporting. Sure, the IRD can and does undertake tax audits – but this covers only a fraction of the transactions and tax payers in any income year.

          Can people cheat on their taxes? Yes. Does that mean we should give up on the tax system ……. ?

      • PI 33.1.2

        Not sure if you are particularly familiar with regulatory frameworks and enforcement.

        NZ operates largely on a self-reporting/self-compliance basis. The regulators step in when something goes wrong or a complaint is made – they rarely undertake active monitoring. i am not suggesting actively monitoring above (other than perhaps IRD spot checking things).

        For example, all banks are required to undertake customer KYC (i.e. identity verification) for customers to comply with AML/CFT rules. Banks also are required to seek information from customers for FATCA compliance purposes. Banks and other financial institutions must do this thousands of times a day. The regulators do not micro-manage this – they just expect the banks to get on with it.

        So, no need for a large govt department to oversee every residential transaction.

        You are right that you are most likely to get caught if someone ‘narked’ on you, but you try and create a set of negative incentives to ensure voluntary compliance by most. This is the basis on which we legislate. Otherwise we would have a cop assigned to every person in NZ to ensure that the person didn’t commit any crimes.

      • Colonial Viper 33.1.3

        All well and good except you’d need a Stalinist type bureaucracy to go over each and every transaction. And if not, the only way you’d get caught is if someone narked on you.


        what a weird comment. If you can’t figure out how such a system might work, feel free to leave it to other people who can.

  34. Karen 34

    Have a read of this article just posted by Simon Wilson from Metro.


    Some excellent suggestions.

  35. cancerman 35

    What I don’t understand is why Labour didn’t commission and pay some research department to compile non stolen data of better quality that could be more accurately analysed and therefore show all the Smiths and Patel’s who are also foreign buyers. Rather than profiling which by definition is racist.

    • McFlock 35.1

      Because the data doesn’t exist.

      BTW, it’s not “profiling”.

      • cancerman 35.1.1

        Hence why I say why didn’t Labour compile their own data set which could be based on just local vs foreign buyer. Any data set can be compiled. It just seems that Labour could be bothered and used stolen data to make inference that by their nature are profiling.

        Can you explain how this is not profiling? It seems exactly what they did with the names.

        • McFlock

          If property transaction data is confidential, how would Labour “compile” it? It seems that it’s only through a leak that even this data was available.

          Rating information often hides ownership in companies or trusts, with lawyers as contact names. If you know a source of ownership data, kindly tell us and a more accurate analysis can be conducted.

          Racial profiling:

          Racial profiling is the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior.

          E.g. cop sees a brown person so assumes they are likely to be an illegal immigrant and demands to see ID. A positive hit reinforces the prejudice, a negative hit is ignored because of confirmation bias. The result is that more pale illegal immigrants go about their business undisturbed, while residents are harassed by the police because of their colour.

          The Labour analysis draws no conclusions about individuals. It merely assumes, quite validly, that the aggregate data would be generally consistent between two samples of the same population. So therefore if there is a dramatic difference between the samples then they are probably not samples of the same population.

          • cancerman

            Hire a valuer would be one way. This information is only confidential in that it is B&T intellectual property. It’s not like this information can’t be complied. Yes it takes effort/resources but be to be a hard working and have a better data set than racist.

            “The Labour analysis draws no conclusions about individuals. It merely assumes, quite validly, that the aggregate data would be generally consistent between two samples of the same population. So therefore if there is a dramatic difference between the samples then they are probably not samples of the same population.”

            That’s the same as the police saying the criminal incarcerated population is over represented by Maori so therefore we will be more suspicious of Maori in society because they make up higher rate of offenders. Even if the racial profiling doesn’t have an effect passed the assumption as per your example it is still racial profiling.

            • McFlock

              Hire a valuer would be one way.

              You do realise that the research objective is the NZ residential status of the owners? A valuer can’t provide any data whatsoever about that. And you could get values from the rates information anyway. Just not whether the owner is an overseas resident.

              That’s the same as the police saying the criminal incarcerated population is over represented by Maori so therefore we will be more suspicious of Maori in society because they make up higher rate of offenders.

              No, it’s not. It’s the complete opposite, because the only “suspicion” it makes about any ethnicity in NZ is that they probably buy houses at the same rate as everyone else.

  36. Binders full of women 36

    Looks like Phil Twatford has cost someone their job! Too much Phil!

    • Clemgeopin 36.1

      Twyford NEVER mentioned where he got the list from, who he got it from and from which real estate agency. So, not his fault at all. In fact, I am not even sure if the list was directly given to Phil in the first instance or not. So, the real question is why did the agency go about investigating this leak in the first place when hundreds their employees had access to the list?

      Besides sacking him does not solve the problem of the overseas investors hiking the housing price rise.

      • cancerman 36.1.1

        Barfoot and Thomson is by far the biggest agency in Auckland. The size of the information taken would be unlikely/impossible generated by any other real estate agency. Therefore they became suspicious and undertook their investigation. Seems to be their suspicious were correct.

        No but it solves their problem of having a thief work for them.

        • Weepus beard

          That “thief” is a hero to many New Zealanders.

          • cancerman

            Is it really heroic to take something that’s not yours when it can be got by other mean that are legitimate? If so I’m living in the wrong society.

            Not only that if Labour had conducted/commissioned their own research the data would have been much more appropriate for their use and avoided the racist overtones.

            • Weepus beard

              This is the nub of the matter, isn’t it? No data is forthcoming because those who might be in possession of such data have an interest in it not becoming publicly available.

              How is the opposition housing spokesman supposed to gather such data in order to do something positive for the people of New Zealand?

              • cancerman

                Labour could easily have commission research firms/valuation companies to have gain this data or better data. This data is collectible in the same way all political parties do polling.

                • Weepus beard

                  Do you mean random phone call polling? I think this problem is a little more serious than that.

                  It’s the type of problem a government should be interested in.

                  • cancerman

                    No I mean hiring property professionals who routinely compile and sell information on sales/leasing anything you pay them for. Alternately have volunteers do this through property transactions. Addresses that have sold are public. It would be more than possible to gain the other information from that starting point. It just takes effort.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      What a brilliant idea! I suggest you contact Joyce or Key and tell them how is done. They don’t seem to have any clue at all!

      • Clemgeopin 36.1.2


        From the article,
        “Thompson said as far as he knew the weekly sales figures were not sent by the member of staff directly to the Labour Party but were sent to individuals, members of the media and political officials.”

        “Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said it was “extremely disappointing” to see the staff member lose their job over leaked data.”

        • Colonial Viper

          sheeezus, I feel sorry for the leaker, but it does seem like amateur hour if they got found out this quickly. Rawshark set an example of how it could be done.

          • RedLogix

            If Thompson had any integrity he’d offer up his sales data for someone like say PwC to analyse and make public the result – stripped of any personal or ethnic information.

            But what we get instead this entirely predictable display of swaggering self-interest.

          • Saarbo

            That’s a bit mean CV, obviously the leaker was doing this because they wanted to expose the truth and good on them. These foreign buyers are a pack of greedy arseholes, and they need to be exposed. Ive got nothing but respect for the leaker and I would have done the same.

        • Clemgeopin

          From the article,

          Barfoot & Thompson chief executive Wendy Alexander said that ‘Chinese buyers made up a large component of the company’s business’. “There’s nothing unusual, unique or scary about that” she said.

          Interestingly, she did not mention if the bulk of her sales were to non resident Chinese investors or not, that being the main issue and the primary concern of the debate.

          Contrary to her opinion, from her leaked house sales data, the fact that 40% of all house buying in a 3 month period by a population of 9% in proportion is actually quite unusual, unique and scary for the rest of the residents, including the resident Chinese, who are losing any reasonable hope of being able to buy a house.


          Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said it was “extremely disappointing” to see the staff member lose their job over leaked data.

          “The whistleblower who I worked with wanted to shine a light on what is a very real issue for New Zealand – foreign investment pushing up house prices and shutting people who live here out of the property market.

          “This data provided an important snapshot of what’s going on in the Auckland housing market,” Twyford said.

          “I think they did Aucklanders a huge favour, telling Aucklanders, giving them a snapshot of what’s happening in the housing market – information that the government doesn’t trust people with.”

          The whistleblower approached Twyford because they wanted the information in the public domain, he said.

          “I think Aucklanders owe them for that.”

          People were now better informed about what was happening in the Auckland housing market than they were two weeks ago.

          Twyford would not confirm whether he had direct contact with the sacked Barfoot & Thompson staff member and he would not identify the “whistleblower” that approached him with the data.

          It was important to have the conversation about foreign Chinese investment, which Twyford said he believed was “pumping up” house prices and denying young New Zealanders the dream of home ownership.

          Twyford said he stood by his decision to release the data but would not be drawn on accusations that the data and analysis was racist.

          Labour leader Andrew Little has rejected criticism that the data – which identified buyers as Chinese from their surname – was “an exercise in unveiled racism.”

          Personally, I think the fault LIES entirely with this clueless, inept government that has obfuscated, bull shitted and completely mismanaged this huge housing crisis which has rapidly escalated under their seven year sleep watch.

      • Anne 36.1.3

        It is well known Barfoot and Thompson donate generously to the National Party. It is well known some other estate agencies do likewise. It can be reliably assumed that these “generous donations” bring with them access to government ministers and other National Party luminaries. It can therefore be assumed that [private] discussions with government ministers – and John Key – on subjects relating to property issues regularly occur. It can therefore also be deduced that not only has the rapidly increasing off-shore property speculation been known about by this government for a long time but they have made a calculated decision not to investigate or take steps to stop it from happening. Why? Because they are in cahoots with B and T and the speculators. But we already knew all of the above.

        So, I say the decision to sack an estate agent for drawing attention to a serious problem is… POLITICAL!

        • cancerman

          Unfortunately B&T do better off more through transactions than higher prices. They would actually prefer more stock to sell (new house/apartments) at the previously lower average price rather than this restricted but high priced market. So your logic fails.

          • Colonial Viper

            Utter BS mate, B&T like any business will work the market and the market conditions that exists today, to the maximum, not some pretend other market that you have defined in theory and which does not exist.

            Seems like it is your “logic” which is failing.

            • cancerman

              Did you stop and think about what I wrote or do you need me to walk you through the data to explain my point, cause I can if you like?

              • Colonial Viper

                LOL mate, your calculations do nothing to alter the fact that B&T have to work with the market as it exists now, not some theoretical market within which they can maximise their theoretical profits.

        • RedLogix


          I have old and personal history with Peter Thompson. Nothing to do with business.

          Everything to do with a complete absence of ethics.

          • Anne

            Everything to do with a complete absence of ethics.

            It was written all over his face tonight on the telly.

    • indiana 36.2

      I love how Phil says he’s dissapointed about how Barfoots reacted, but I bet you a Chinese owned house that he would have done the same thing if one of his staffers leaked information out of his office.

      • Weepus beard 36.2.1

        Peter Thompson didn’t read the memo from Wayne Eagleson’s office.

        Which was: Twyford is onto something here, do not under any circumstances do anything to inflame this issue further. It will only attract more attention which you don’t want.

  37. Peter Bradley 37

    Cut the wish washy crap and say it like it is – Labours approach is downright low and dirty. Manipulating the racist undercurrent in NZ to garner political support. This has absolutely nothing to do with solving the Auckland housing crisis and everything to with Labours move to the right. Having been outmaneuvered on almost every front by John Key the party strategists have gone for the desperate and vile dog whistle of racism. Most horrifying of all is all of the supportive comments from supposedly progressive NZers. Disgusting, foul and inexcusable – there is no other way to describe it.

    • Clemgeopin 37.1

      Do you think that non resident Chinese investors are investing in Auckland houses and pushing up prices or not?
      And, do you have any good suggestions as to how to solve the Auckland housing crisis?

      • cancerman 37.1.1

        It’s easy. Build more either through Kiwibuild or/and the private sector but both of these options need Auckland Council to be proactive is rezoning a lot more land for either greenfield or more intensive building, as well as streamline consent processing to shorten the time taken to get these. Also have pre approved building design to dramatically shorten and derisking the consent process for those using those designs.

        The foreign buyers/speculators aren’t to blame. We, Aucklanders, are for years of under investment and over regulation creating a shortage of supply. Speculators can only operate effectively in markets of constricted supply.

      • Gareth 37.1.2

        I think there are lots of overseas investors investing in Auckland houses and pushing up prices because we have one of the most unregulated easy-to-invest-in economy’s in the world.

        I think saying that the Chinese investors are THE problem is a) wrong, and b) a dogwhistle and sideshow that detracts from the issue.

        We should definitely tighten up on foreign investment. The government’s beginning to collect data on this later this year is a good step. There is a ton more that needs to happen. Capital controls are politically hard but necessary. I don’t see National doing anything in this area. To be honest I don’t think Labour has the courage to do anything beyond tokens either. On top of all of that, the FTAs are just making it harder and harder to move in this area as well

        We should also build more and we should build up despite all the Nimbyism in the inner suburbs.

      • Paul 37.1.3

        He won’t answer.
        He has no answers.

        • cancerman

          Who won’t answer?

          • Paul

            Peter Bradley.

            • Peter Bradley

              Yes there is a problem in the Auckland housing market and housing affordability generally. What the f#ck has that got to do with Chinese sounding names at housing auctions in Auckland? Absolutely nothing.
              Did the first Labour government in NZ (1935) pick out a specific race of people in order to whine and whinge about a housing shortage? No they didn’t – they argued for and then implemented a major, government backed house building program that lasted for more then 10 years and transformed the lives of thousands of NZ.
              That’s what a Labour party is supposed to do. This latest move by Labour is weak and pathetic and highlights a true lack of vision and courage in the current leadership. Labour has lost my support on this – I’ll be looking for a new progressive left wing political party.

      • cricklewood 37.1.4

        All non resident and for that matter resident investors are pushing up house prices as is the rapid influx of immigrants. There was no need to single out one ethnicity other than to create controversy and to stir up our all to red neck underbelly.

        Also just a thought, but as I understand it Barfoot have a large number of Chinese speaking agents likely leading to them have a much greater proportion of Chinese buyers compared to other agencies…

        • Clemgeopin

          I don’t agree that pointing out the obvious was a racist issue at all. That was not the intention or the purpose. The purpose was to highlight a glaring fact about non resident investment speculators which is ‘one’ of the causes of the shooting prices.

          At least one thing good has come out of the issue : The problem has been dramatically highlighted and every one…..people, commentators, editors, media, TV, Government…. is seriously discussing and debating the issue.

          Hopefully, this will lead to some fruitful solutions to the humongous housing crisis. Let us hope that Key, Joyce, English and whoever is the housing minister will begin to get some clues…at least from now on.

          People are mad as hell and they can’t take it anymore.

        • Bill

          as I understand it Barfoot have a large number of Chinese speaking agents likely leading to them have a much greater proportion of Chinese buyers compared to other agencies…

          I wonder if the bright sparks in Labour gave that possibility any thought? I’m lying, I reckon they didn’t. They saw what they thought was an easy way to highlight a problem and – fucking frighteningly! – didn’t seem to recognise the racism inherent to what they were doing.

          I wonder if any estate agents have large numbers of (say) Hindi speaking agents and what the population to buyers ratio looks like for those particular companies if they exist?

          One would assume that the buyer numbers would be higher and, if extrapolated across all house sales, grossly inflated.

          Note: I’m not saying there’s not a massive problem with rich people spending their accumulated wealth or using their accumulated assets to build ever greater property portfolios.

          But yeah…to echo Adele, where was all the jumping up and down when it was only rich Pakeha who were competing with one another, pushing up prices, and fucking over poorer Pakeha and, proportionately at least, far more Maori?

          The good old days, eh?

          • cricklewood

            Ironic really isn’t it… and the mildly humorous part of it all is that it’s likely to be the same folk who would say Maori / beneficiaries / low paid are lazy, just need to work harder to get ahead that are now complaining the most. Boot on the other foot and all that…

      • Grantoc 37.1.5

        Its a classic supply and demand issue, where, obviously, demand is significantly greater than supply.

        There are many factors creating strong demand; NZ’ders returning from overseas, NZ’ders shifting from other parts of NZ to Auckland, general migration, overseas buyers, the difficulties and time involved in generating a greater supply of housing.

        It’s cynical and irresponsible to isolate one element (Chinese buyers) of one factor (overseas buyers) and to blame that element for pushing up house prices.

        All this is known. It’s known by Twyford – he is, after all, Labour’s housing spokesperson.

        Therefore you can only conclude that Twyford, supported by Little, is deliberately and cynically playing the race card in an attempt to attract the ‘red neck’ NZ First voters.

        So much for a party of principle and humanitarian values, as discussed recently and sincerely on this blog. Twyford isn’t interested in principles and values; he’s just another grubby politician using anything available to obtain power.

        BTW – the answer to the problem is a quick and comprehensive effort to generate a greater supply of housing

        • Clemgeopin

          Do you really think increasing the supply alone is the panacea when it is known that the Government of China has allocated billions of dollars (if not trillions of dollars) specifically to corner foreign properties in various countries?

          So Increasing supply alone does not solve the problem for us because the foreign Chinese investors will simply buy more available land and properties and push the prices higher.

          The solution should also include the demand side.

          • Grantoc

            I think that the supply side is the most significant factor pushing up the price of houses in Auckland and so should be the factor that is most urgently addressed.

            I agree though that policy aimed at moderating the demand side will also contribute to getting a better balance between supply and demand.

            Twyford has deliberately ignored the above, instead choosing to focus on a minor element – foreign Chinese buyers – and to imply that its the most important factor driving the market and doing this in the knowledge that this will stimulate red neck voters to be more sympathetic to Labour.

            • lprent

              The supply has been slowly easing, but that is a longer term issue. If that had been the only factor, then the price increases would have started easing off last year. The rises would have run out of money from the banks to sustain it for anyone getting a local mortgage.

              What is pushing the price rises now is external money coming in. That is quite obvious when you look at income vs expenditure. The main problem has been the shortage of any data to figure out what was happening.

              You are talking from a profound level of ignorance. Perhaps you should study what is actually happening rather than what you wish was happening.

            • Clemgeopin

              “Twyford has deliberately ignored the above, instead choosing to focus on a minor element – foreign Chinese buyers – and to imply that its the most important factor driving the market and doing this in the knowledge that this will stimulate red neck voters to be more sympathetic to Labour’

              You are wrong about that on many points.

              You are misrepresenting Twyford’s character and what he was on about. It has nothing to do with racism or nothing to do with ‘Chinese sounding names at housing auctions in Auckland’. He wasn’t talking about people at an auction at all. In the absence of any government data, Twyford was drawing reasonable statistical conclusions from a list (of 4,000 house BUYERS in a period of 3 months) who were presumably not all at the auction. The issue was about foreign speculative investment into Auckland houses acting as a catalyst to boost prices and cause difficulty for NZ residents, including the local kiwi Chinese. You have either not clearly understood where Twyford was coming from or you are biased for whatever reason.

              Have a read of Twyford’s response:

              One tough issue

  38. Weepus beard 38

    With all the goings on of the last few days I’m feeling a little drained having tried to defend the concerns of the young and the working poor of the city state of Auckland against the hordes of uncaring resident and non resident investment property owners.

    I think I have got to the bottom of the Barfoot & Thompson leak though.

    The leaker, who has since been fired, was one of Peter Thompson’s facial warts.

    Even Peter Thompson’s own facial wart has more social conscience than its host.

  39. Tanz 39

    Lol – Labour is hopeless, so much mindless in-fighting. Whose side is Micky Savage on? FFS, China is a communist, undemocratic regime, their people buying up our housing en masse, causing locals to pay super inflated prices and outflanking first home buyers. Do you want to see our young of today renting forever. Victor for Labour? Not at this hopeless rate, you guys can’t even stick together on the most important and galling issue facing NZ right now. Twyford just can’t win, can he. I might as well join Colin Craig’s more cohesive lot!!

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